For those who don’t know, October is American Pharmacists Month. While I am happy to take this opportunity to pat myself on the back for being an awesome pharmacist, I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend some time talking about the fantastic pharmacy technicians I have worked with. In fact, I should have done this sooner. Navy pharmacy technicians are the finest in the world, and I would say that I have worked with some of the best of the best. The photo above was shot just last week at an awards ceremony where one of my previous pharmacy technicians was recognized as the top senior technician in the Navy. Mr Vogel came to me as a new technician straight out of school. Now with a number of duty stations and advancements behind him he is recognized as the best in the Navy.
Mr Vogel (now HM1 Vogel, but then HN Vogel) is just one example of the high quality medical experts I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I won’t list them all out for their privacy, but you know who you are. My technicians from Corpus Christi (my first duty station) who helped me to grow as a leader and helped me learn the Navy system and those in Rota who performed well beyond their experience, thank you. A lot of leaders have said they learned more from their staff than the leader could have ever taught, but for me this is especially true. Exceptionally brilliant technicians challenged me at every turn, with thoughtful questions and innovative ways to do things.
One particular trait I found in the technicians I have worked with, is the desire to always find a better way. Part of that comes from each of our own desires to make life a little easier, but, more often than not, these technicians were seeking to provide a better experience for our clients. I know that the nursing and physician staffs would agree that the pharmacy technicians have made the difference in the treatment of our patients. They have been attentive and helpful; even when they didn’t necessarily want to be making that IV in the middle of the night. The knowledge and skill sets of these technicians has rivaled many pharmacists, and the technicians’ ability to apply it daily saved lives and made people healthier.
There have been some bumps on the road, but the pharmacy team stood strong. I have always admired my pharmacy technicians’ resolve when things went wrong. Whenever the going got tough, the team would band together and cover extra hours, or work harder to get the job done.
Working pharmacy is a difficult job. You hear a lot about what’s going wrong, but don’t get many compliments when things are going right. I can tell you over the course of my career we have filled 10’s of thousands and probably 100’s of thousands of prescriptions together. The number of compliments rarely outweighed the number of complaints, but take that number into account when considering the undertaking. Each technician should be proud of the work accomplished and the accuracy, efficiency, and attitude with which he or she accomplished it.
Many of these outstanding individuals have gone on to other tracks in life. Civilian careers, entrepreneurship, or schooling. To those technicians, thank you for serving. You have done a great service for your country, and the Navy is better for your service. For those who are still with the Navy, continue to do great things and show the world how great you are.
You, pharmacy technicians, have made me a better leader and I’m thankful for what you do. Keep up the great work in whatever you do. I can’t wait to work with you again!