Pharmacy techs begin careers with mentors

Career goals came full circle in the pharmacy department of IU Health West. Eleven members of the class of 2019 at Ben Davis High School (and one from Avon High School) all received a little extra help in their health careers course. And thanks to the pharmacy techs at IU Health those students are pursuing careers – just two months after high school graduation.

Specifically, the students – all enrolled in a pharmacy tech certification course through Area 31 Career Center received assistance paying and studying for their certification – assistance provided by other IU Health pharmacy techs.

“We all have had people who have invested in our careers and we wanted to give back to these students in our neighborhood are community,” said Amy Hurst, pharmacy tech supervisor at IU Health West. “We felt like if we brought them under our wing then we could build close connections and hopefully build our team,” said Hurst, adding that there is a shortage of qualified pharmacy techs. She believes some people are unaware of the profession and don’t realize that pharmacy techs work both in retail positions and in hospitals.

At the end of the two-year training, two pharmacists applied for and were hired by IU Health. Those two technicians are Ashley Stoller and Sydney McKeen.

“I couldn’t figure out what I was interested in after high school and I went to a job fair and learned about the pharmacy tech program,” said McKeen, a former high school athlete who participated in in soccer, softball, track and cross country. In her role with IU Health she is responsible for sterile compounding, medical kit processing, delivery and restocking of medications on the hospital floors, and record keeping. She has also had special training in the handling of narcotics.

“The best part of job is that all the information is new in the hospital setting so I’m in a learning curve,” said McKeen. “I like what I’m doing and I hope I can keep learning. Some day I’d like to become a pharmacist.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email