Technician As Trainer

APhA Pharmacy Technician
Vol. 1 No. 4
March/April 2002

Mary Anna Marshall, CPhT, trains technicians. This simple job description hardly conveys the depth of Marshall’s dedication to providing technicians with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to assist patients and pharmacists.

Marshall is a trainer and marketing director at Richmond Apothecaries, Inc. (RAI), and independent pharmaceutical care practice; the director of the Pharmacy Technician Program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (JSRCC); and the director of the Virginia Institute for Pharmacy technicians (VIPT), which prepares technicians for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.

Marshall’s desire to learn about medications led her to pharmacy. “When I was 16, I read the PDR for fun. That’s why I went to work as a [hospital] medication tech back in 1970,” she recalled.

“When PTCB was founded, I wanted to get my certification so I could learn more,” she said. When Marshall received her certification, her supervisor asked her to conduct a PTCB review class for her fellow technicians. A rewarding new career as a trainer soon followed.

“All RAI technicians are certified now,” Marshall said. “This is important because certification gives technicians pride in being professionals. It also helps to ensure mistakes are rare.”

At JSRCC, Marshall teaches several classes and oversees internships. “It’s important for technicians to know about different practice settings so they can answer any question that might come up,” she emphasized.

Building on her certification work at RAI, Marshall founded VIPT in 2001. The institute holds three 12-weeks sessions each year.

“The need for technician trainers is growing,” Marshall said. “And it’s not just that states like Virginia are requiring technicians be certified or enroll in training by July 1, 2003. Training is needed because technicians are taking on responsibilities for helping patients and pharmacists.”

Marshall encouraged anyone interested in technician training to e-mail her. “Training takes a lot of work, but anyone with experience and dedication can do it,” she said.


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