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Carrington College Blog

Faculty Q&A With Pharmacy Technology Instructor Jessica Reinhardt

January 20, 2022

Jessica ReinhardtJessica Reinhardt began teaching Pharmacy Technology at Carrington College in May of 2021. A pharmacy technician herself for ten years—in every practice setting—Jessica felt that teaching was the next natural step in her career, allowing her to share her knowledge and experience with her students, and to help guide those on the path to their first pharmacy technician jobs.    

 

What led you to become a Pharmacy Technician? 

After high school, I took college classes and was working on an associate degree, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career. I’m a military spouse, and the military was offering scholarships for the pharmacy technology program, so I applied. There were 70 applicants; me and one other person were accepted! I was in Virginia at the time and did an accelerated pharmacy tech school at a community college, which took about six months. 

 

What did you do before you became an instructor at Carrington College? 

I’ve been in pharmacy for a long time—about ten years. Right before I came to Carrington, I was doing pharmacy in specialty care for IV Home Infusion. We serviced a lot of patients on bed rest, who were unable to leave home, or who were on hospice. We filled IV prescriptions, which were then delivered to their homes and administered there.  

 

What was your favorite part of working as a Pharmacy Technician?  

The best part is that you are improving people’s lives and helping them feel better. We improve people’s lives, but I think most people don’t know what we do—we help behind the scenes in helping people get better health. 

 

What led you to your current teaching position at Carrington College?  

I have worked in pharmacy for over ten years and in pretty much every setting; I did long-term care, retail, Military Pharmacy, specialty care IV home infusion, sterile- and non-sterile compounding, and hospital; I thought teaching was the next best step in my career. 

My husband is a paramedic instructor for the Air Force; he was the one who saw the job opening at Carrington and encouraged me to apply. I applied, interviewed, and was hired. I’ve loved it ever since I started.  

 

Can you explain the difference between a Pharmacy Technician and a Pharmacist? Can Pharmacy Technicians fill prescriptions? 

The relationship between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist is like that between a nurse and a doctor. 

Pharmacy Technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist; we receive prescriptions, enter data, run insurance, and fill the medication; the pharmacist then verifies that it’s all done correctly.  

 

 

What do your students learn in the Pharmacy Technology program?  

It’s a nine-month program, start to finish, which most students like. They learn every aspect of pharmacy: one whole term covers retail pharmacy, sig codes, drug names—all the basics. 

We then go into our next module unit, which is dosing and packaging medication, then a full term focusing on hospital pharmacy (such as sterile compounding and IV bags).  

We do a full term on compounding pharmacy—most students really enjoy this, because they get to practice making compounds, such as lotions, etc. Although compounding pharmacies aren’t as popular as traditional pharmacies, they are an important specialty; most areas have at least one compounding pharmacy (in Albuquerque, for example, there are three).  

The last term of the program is externship, where students work in a pharmacy for six weeks. Once the students have completed each of the modules, they usually have an idea about which type of setting they’d prefer, and they work with career services to try to find the right externship match. 

 

What is your favorite part of teaching at Carrington College? 

My favorite part is the students. It makes me happy to see them succeed; they motivate me to want to be a better teacher and help them even more. It feels so good to know that I’m impacting their lives—even if it is in a small way—as they begin their career.  

 

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for students just starting out in the program, or for those just starting work as a pharmacy technician?   

Just keep working hard, stay motivated, and know that there are so many types of pharmacy you can go into; there are more roles and settings available than most people realize, such as retail pharmacy, closed door pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, data entry positions, military pharmacy, and even jobs working with major insurance companies. When I started, I didn’t know that—I learned it on the job through coworkers, fellow pharmacy techs, and pharmacists. 

 

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