Bruce Wood Interview - by Heather Coit of The News-Gazette
Wood — a native of Tuscola — graduated from Tuscola Community High School in 1975. He graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1980, with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. He worked at Dillow Drugs n Shelbyville for a year and Endris Pharmacy in Pana for three years. Wood then worked at The Pharmacy in Tuscola from 1984 to 1991.
In 1991, Wood went to work for Noel Dicks at Dicks Pharmacy in Arthur. Five years later, he purchased the store from Dicks. Today the pharmacy continues to have an old-fashioned soda fountain.
Wood is president of the East Central Illinois Pharmacists Association, which covers nine Illinois counties. He is also a member of the Illinois Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association.
What led you to choose a career as a pharmacist?
I definitely wanted to do something in the medical field, something where I could help people. There happened to be an advertisement for one of the pharmaceutical schools on the bulletin board in my high school and I decided it might not be too bad a choice.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The opportunity to help people and deal with people. It’s definitely a different challenge from what I’d like for it to be. I spend a lot of time with people’s insurance companies finding out why they’re not paying bills as they should be — but that’s still helping people.
What do you find most difficult about your job?
It’s difficult to keep up with everything with all the new drugs coming out. I do go to continuing education courses and do all kinds of reading. The most frustrating thing is dealing with the third parties — plan benefit managers who dictate what drugs are going to be covered and get filled on insurance plans.
What do you think is the most important quality for someone considering a career in pharmacy?
It probably goes back to being able to care about people and wanting to work with people — having the compassion that allows you to care about people. That’s what keeps pharmacists the number-one trusted profession — caring about people and interacting with customers.
What advice would you give someone going into a career as a pharmacist?
I think it’s going to continue to be a
good profession for some years to come. It takes a lot of perseverance;
it’s now at least a six-year program for all students. Right now, the
pay is very rewarding, but it takes a long time to get through it. I
thought the situation I had in high school — strong math, strong science
and Latin — was quite beneficial. Unfortunately, you’re not going to
find Latin at a lot of high schools, but it prepared me for physiology
terminology and being able to write as well.
Bruce D. Wood '80 Outstanding Achievement Award from St. Louis College of Pharmacy
Bruce Wood owns Dicks Pharmacy, a small, independent store in the heart of Illinois Amish country, and he’s made it a success without losing the best of the fine old ways. He kept the soda fountain, for example—not to mention the trust of people in the community. In 1995, Wood’s hometown named him “Tuscolian of the Year” because he’d given so much of himself to civic life. He served on the Douglas County Tourism Council, fostering unprecedented regional cooperation that made the county one of Illinois’ top 10 tourism sites. He served the Arthur and Tuscola Fourth of July Celebration and Christmastown Festival and co-chairing the famous Arthur Cheese Festival.
Wood is an excellent organizer, but he also knows how to have fun, whether he’s behind the camera recording local high school sports or on a ladder stringing holiday lights (22,000 ever year) for passersby to enjoy. Since graduating from StLCoP, he has participated in the Alumi Association, donating student gifts and staying active with Delta Sigma Theta. They named him Brother of the Year in ’80, and he knows every member who’s pledged since.
“My agenda,” says Wood, “is to leave the world, at least the part of it I can affect, better off than it would have been, had I not touched it.”