Nurturing the Alumni-Student Relationship

Published on 03 October 2018

Steven Hebel, B.S. ’84, executive director at Corum Health Services, believes that mentors have a significant role to play in developing students into the next generation of health care professionals. Mentors can come in many forms, but Hebel believes that the alumni of St. Louis College of Pharmacy can serve as a great source of guidance to students beyond the classroom.

“The College prepares students for their careers in many different ways, and students gain practical experience through employment, but mentors are important too,” Hebel stated. “Who better to serve in that role for students than the men and women who have been in their shoes and have faced similar challenges?”

Hebel has spent more than 15 years serving as a mentor to student pharmacists at Corum. The long-term care pharmacy, based in Chesterfield, Missouri, specializes in providing care for older adults residing in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

Over the years, Hebel has been committed to hiring students who are progressing through the College’s professional program and preparing to enter the pharmacy profession. During their time at Corum, students perform a variety of tasks including filling prescriptions, entering orders, preparing IVs and compounds, making phone calls to verify orders and mentoring younger students who join the team.

“We felt that hiring students was something we wanted and needed do in order to give them a chance to work in an environment where they could thrive and apply what they learn to their professional growth,” Hebel explained. “Over the years, I’ve been struck by their energy, curiosity, passion and complete dedication to their work. We give them a lot of responsibility, and they always embrace the challenge.”

Since 2002, the number of pharmacy students employed at Corum has increased from around 10 per year to between 35 and 40 per year. Many students begin working at Corum during their first years at the College and choose to continue through their graduation.

Hebel says having the ability to work with the same students over multiple years has allowed him to grow the relationships with the students he employs and celebrate their successes with them.

“I quickly realized that these students would change my life,” Hebel explained. “There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a student grow as a person, a learner and a professional. My greatest hope is that, when they leave here, they will take a piece of us with them and give back to the students who they will mentor someday.”

Hebel’s dedication to mentoring stems from his own experiences working at a small chain pharmacy as a student pharmacist.

“I had two excellent mentors who really inspired me when I was in pharmacy school, and it was a priceless experience,” Hebel described. “They each had different approaches and styles but were both effective practitioners. I learned from their different styles that there are a variety of effective ways to practice pharmacy and serve patients. I hope to serve as an example to the students that I mentor in the same way that my mentors were an example for me.”

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