Tech Spotlight: Tisha Lewis, CPhT, pharmacy technician Coordinator, Munson Medical Center
How did you get into pharmacy technician practice?
Ten years ago I was looking for a part time job and walked into a CVS Pharmacy in North Carolina. They had a help wanted flier in the window. I spoke with the Assistant Store Manager and was immediately hired.
Did you work in a different industry or practice before becoming a pharmacy technician? If so, what prompted you to change career paths?
I was working for a property management company when I was hired as a part-time pharmacy technician. After working part-time for a few months, I found I loved my job and decided to go full-time.
What is your educational background?
I have completed classes in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and calculus. I obtained my Certified Pharmacy Technician designation eight years ago. I was offered a position as a lead technician contingent on certification, so I studied for two weeks, took the test and received my certification.
What is your employment history?
I started in retail at CVS in North Carolina as a part-time technician. I moved into a full-time position and transferred to a store in Michigan. There I was promoted to lead technician. While at CVS, I became a conversion trainer and went to Northern California to train pharmacy staff as part of the Longs Drugs Acquisition. I also oversaw the annual inventories for all stores in the district. I really enjoyed my time training. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.
After 2 ½ years I left CVS and took a position as a biller in a long-term care pharmacy. I realized my love of spreadsheets while working there. After two years, I started working on collections where I had to navigate probate court and insurance companies for past claims. I was there for three years and then took a position as the pharmacy technician instructor at Career Quest in Jackson, Mich. I loved it. I was able to introduce what I fell in love with to students that just wanted to make their lives better. I wrote the curriculum for the entire program, which was half online and half labs that were taught on campus. Writing the curriculum and brainstorming ways to teach compounding without medications was a challenge I enjoyed. I decided to relocate north, and accepted a position with Munson Medical Center as an inpatient pharmacy technician. Hospital pharmacy and sterile compounding was an avenue I wanted to explore. After working there for two years, I was promoted to Pharmacy Technician Coordinator.
What do you enjoy most about your current position and practice?
My favorite part of hospital pharmacy is the IV lab and sterile compounding. It’s a challenge every day, and I enjoy that aspect. My current position is very new. I look forward to developing a standardized training program across the health-system.
How did you get involved with MPA/MSPT, and why is it important for pharmacy technicians to be involved in professional associations?
I asked a member of the MSPT Executive Committee, Casey Sullivan, to be a guest lecturer in one of my classes. He invited me to Pharmacy Day at the Capitol and asked if I would be interested in becoming more involved. Prior to that, I really didn't know the opportunity was there. By being a part of MPA and MSPT I have learned so much about our profession that I didn't know was available to technicians. I have met some great and interesting people in the profession, and it continues to open doors for me. It’s also easy to reach out to those people that I have met to bounce ideas off one another. The world of pharmacy is huge, but it’s also very small. Everyone knows someone, and I want them to know me.
What else would you like to share?
I am about to be a first-time mother, and I am also getting married next year. My fiancée and I just bought a house outside of Traverse City with 20 acres. We have 2 dogs and love to take walks all together in the woods. My family is very close. My parents have always supported my decisions about my professional life even if sometimes it may have seemed flighty to them. Without the support from them, and my two sisters and their husbands, I may have ended up on a very different path, and I am grateful for them and the time I get to spend with my niece and nephew. They can't wait to meet their new cousin.