Jahara Lynn Russell, CPhT
Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia
Jahara Lynn Russell has been a CPhT since 2008, and started her career as a customer service representative after attending Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. Today she is the Lead Pharmacy Technician for Transition of Care at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. The most rewarding aspect of her job, she says, is knowing she is helping patients make successful transitions home from the hospital by ensuring they have the medications and instructions they need to avoid readmission.
After her college years, Jahara was a customer service representative at Magellan Behavioral Health, often turning upset clients into satisfied customers. “This job taught me how to deal with all sorts of people,” she says. Next, as a patient care advocate at Express Scripts, Inc., she learned how to successfully juggle and prioritize multiple responsibilities.
Jahara has always been interested in how the body reacts to medicine, so she jumped at the chance to become a hospital pharmacy technician in 2007 at Albert Einstein. There she was trained in IV preparation for adults and neonates in ICU care, in addition to parenteral nutrition preparations. Of her training, Jahara says, “I loved every minute!”
In 2008, Jahara became a CPhT. “I realized I could receive a greater salary by being a certified technician,” she says. “I also learned that a majority of institutions only hired certified technicians.” During her first five years at Albert Einstein, she assisted in reconstituting and preparing IV drips, compounds, and suspensions, and was trained to calculate critical care drip and chemotherapy rates.
In 2012, Jahara was hired for the advanced pharmacy technician role she has today, which requires direct patient interaction and involvement in the intricacies of outpatient pharmacy. Jahara interacts daily with physicians, nurses, social workers, and the multi-disciplinary Transition of Care team. She interviews patients to enroll them in an assistance program for obtaining outpatient prescriptions upon hospital discharge. “I spend about 70% of my day on the surgical floors interviewing patients,” Jahara says. “I feel especially useful when it comes to my uninsured patients. Enrolling them in our assistance program or setting them up with a social worker to obtain medications at no cost is the most rewarding part of what I do.” She tracks all the patients she sees, and helps out in the outpatient pharmacy to tie up any loose ends related to the prescriptions she submits.
She recently presented “The Untapped Resources of Your Pharmacy Technician” at the PTCB-cosponsored CE session at the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition 2013 in Los Angeles in March. Jahara is a freelance writer, and wrote her first screenplay two years ago. She is also currently writing a pilot show for TV.