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Introducing Clara Gary
by Clara Gary, CPhT, ICHP Technician Representative
Hi pharmacy technicians!
I am Clara Gary, your new Technician Representative on the ICHP Board! I met some of you at the ICHP 2016 Annual Meeting during the Saturday technician sessions. Wasn’t it wonderful?! We learned about patient safety issues and error prevention measures, how to survive a 340B and Joint Commission Audit and we were introduced to two technicians working with expanded roles as investigational drug and medication reconciliation technicians. And guess where these topics came from? They came from you! When your fellow pharmacy technicians completed their needs assessments and returned them to ICHP, the Educational Affairs and planning committee listened and gave us what we asked for.
I know all of you are some of the best and brightest in your respective pharmacies because you made the decision to come to this meeting and educate yourselves. You understand that our profession is expanding and growing and that we need to be involved in this process. According to Miriam Mobley-Smith’s article, Transforming Technicians: Insights Into the Expanding Roles of Pharmacy Technicians, she states that “a better qualified pharmacy technician workforce will improve patient safety, provide greater consistency to enable the expansion of the technician’s roles and responsibility, [and] give [pharmacists] greater confidence in the delegation of technicians’ tasks”.1 But for this to happen we need to continue to educate ourselves and work together in organizations that appreciate, respect and promote the pharmacy technician profession. In Illinois that organization is ICHP.
I encourage you all to get involved, but here is how I became a member of ICHP:
Our pharmacy student extern, Oksana Kucher, at the University of Illinois observed me at work and after watching me for several days she said, “I think that what you are doing with discharging patients is really interesting and you should present on transitions of care at the Annual ICHP meeting”. I was shocked because I had noticed her watching me but didn’t think much of it. LOL!
At first I was very nervous and apprehensive about speaking in public, but she explained that other technicians would be interested to learn about new roles technicians are fulfilling in the workplace. So I got over my fear, stepped up to the plate and gave a presentation at the ICHP 2014 Annual Meeting on the advanced roles for pharmacy technicians. Then using the awesome “Double Dose Program” (ICHP's Buy One Membership, Get One Free deal) a fellow technician friend and I JOINED ICHP together!
Think about it, ICHP exposes technicians to people that work in all areas of pharmacy. You just have to be willing to come out and network, then: LISTEN, LEARN and GROW. Look for an area within your pharmacy or the organization that you are passionate about and find yourself a mentor then PARTICIPATE. Since I joined ICHP, I have gotten to work with many great people but my time spent with the great teacher Dr. Nicholas Popovich has been especially rewarding. He listened to my suggestions, showed me respect and his humbleness continues to inspire me and the countless future pharmacists that he teaches until this day. This quote that I love is an example of how Dr. Popovich approaches things: “The greatest intention pales next to the smallest deed.” This has become my mantra, and now I try to become the change I wish for.
Pharmacy is not only about counting pills and filling medications. Of course those are the basics, but there are all kinds of OPPORTUNITIES available. There are technicians in research, investigational drugs, nuclear medicine, accredited sterile clean rooms, operating and emergency rooms, procurement, continuous quality improvement and medication assistance programs to name a few. The sky is the limit, so why should you limit yourself? To me, ICHP is a gem! It’s an organization that listens to the technician membership when we communicate our needs, our wants and our concerns. ICHP has several programs to address and promote our continued professional growth. Since joining ICHP, I am learning to move outside of my comfort zone and try things that I fear, like public speaking and now I am attempting to develop a blog! Go figure, I guess old dogs can learn new tricks!
Volunteer to be on a committee at ICHP, become an ICHP Champion (more on that here) and organize the technicians in your area for CE via conference call, an online group or come out to a CE dinner and networking session. Your membership also gives you access to the wonderful Pharmacy Tech Topics™ modules for home-study continuing pharmacy education credits! So invite a fellow technician and ATTEND the ICHP Spring and Annual meetings, like I did. Remember that the only way to improve your situation or make any meaningful change is to GET INVOLVED!
Now I would like to hear from you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Tell me: What do you want from ICHP? What questions and concerns do you have? How can I best serve you as the Board Technician Representative? What suggestions do you have for me?
Talk with you soon,
P.S. I want to thank Oksana, who is doing her residency at Princeton University Hospital, for encouraging me to get involved and I haven’t looked back since!
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on Clara Gary, ICHP's new Tech Rep, check out her Leadership Profile in the December 2016 issue of KeePosted.