| James West|
one of his first jobs out of high school, James West
found himself working as an air traffic control coordinator for
the Air Force.
But in terms of the focus and precision required, that demanding
job had nothing on West’s current role as a technician supervisor
in Children’s Pharmacy Department. Both jobs demand the highest
degree of accuracy at all times, and with lives at stake, mistakes
simply aren’t an option.
West helps to oversee roughly 80 technicians and pharmacy interns
who produce 23,000 doses of medication for Children’s patients
each week. The work never stops for the department’s around-the-clock
With 10 years of experience, West says, “Sometimes I am the
department therapist or big brother,” he laughs, “or
maybe even the bad uncle.” But he appreciates the chance to
be a mentor. Many entry-level pharmacy technicians are hired without
past pharmacy training, which West sees as an opportunity to ensure
high-quality training from the beginning of their careers. “The
better your aseptic technique, the less chance there is for introducing
bacteria,” West explains. “Great training ensures that
a sterile product is being delivered to the patient.”
When medication orders arrive from the inpatient floors, pharmacists
review each one to verify appropriate drug choice, dose, frequency
and therapy duration, and to screen for other potential problems,
such as drug interactions and therapeutic duplication. Technicians
and interns then prepare each medication dose and a pharmacist checks
it before it is dispensed.
“The power of this place is amazing,” West says. “We
can get children whatever they need, whether it’s antibiotics
or advanced chemotherapy treatments, all at a moment’s notice.”—RP
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