October 15 is National Pharmacy Tech Day, celebrating our pharmacy coworkers who help keep our CMH pharmacies running smoothly. Get to know some of the pharmacy technicians a little better.
By Sarah Bello, Marketing & Communications Specialist
When Susan Harrington first began working at CMH as a pharmacy tech, the president was George Bush – senior. After 28 years, things have changed a lot, she says.
Harrington is an inpatient pharmacy tech at the hospital, although she went to college to become a medical assistant. Originally from Niagara Falls, New York, when she graduated from school, no one knew what to do with a medical assistant. At the time, she explains, it was a newer profession, and she couldn’t find a job. Instead, she worked at a hospital as a unit secretary for 10 years.
During that time, she became pen pals with her first husband, who lived on the West Coast. She moved across the country to be with him, but he passed away from cancer shortly after they married. Faced with the choice of moving back east or staying, she decided to plant roots here to fix up the house they had purchased together. She worked as a runner for a title company and applied to several jobs at CMH. With her medical background, she secured a job as a pharmacy tech.
“The job is nothing at all now like it was then,” Harrington says. “Everything was done on paper.”
Although she isn’t a “change person,” Harrington has had to modify much throughout her time at CMH. Most things aren’t done on paper anymore, and she uses all sorts of technology to do her work.
DoseEdge is one example of the new things she’s had to learn. Pharmacy techs use the camera system to take pictures while mixing IVs or chemotherapy. Every step of the mixing process is documented with a photo and then checked over by pharmacists, reducing the potential for human error.
On a daily basis, Harrington works one of two jobs. Some days, she’s the “tray person,” where she fills trays of items needed for anesthesia before surgeries. Other days, she refills the Pyxis medication dispensing machines located around the hospital and mixes all the IVs, using DoseEdge to make sure they’re done correctly.
Aside from daily tasks, one of her main assignments is to check all medication for outdates. She looks at the crash carts, all CMH pharmacies, IVs, etc., to make sure all are unexpired and ready for use. Her job requires a lot of attention to detail, but she enjoys the challenges it brings.
“I consider my job to be that of a detective,” she says. “I’m nitpicky and precise, so that helps a lot.”
When she isn’t busy at work, Harrington spends time with her husband, who she’s been married to for two years now. They enjoy doing volunteer work at their church and strolling along the Riverwalk in Astoria. Harrington is looking forward to retirement a few years down the road.
“A lot of life has happened since I’ve been here,” she says.
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