Nik Johnson, CPhT
Pharmacy Affairs Program Manager, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Alexandria, VA
After graduating from college with a degree in healthcare management and administration, Nik Johnson, CPhT, now certified for 14 years, wanted to manage a small medical center or clinic. But he discovered he needed to gain experience first before he could pursue his dream job. Nik decided to focus on pharmacy, a field that interacts with almost every department of a medical center. He began working as a long-term care pharmacy specialist at American Pharmaceutical Services in Lanham, MD, a role that showed him how pharmacists and pharmacy technicians contribute to patients’ overall healthcare.
Today he is the Pharmacy Affairs Program Manager at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy in Alexandria, VA. In this role, he analyses regulatory policies which have an impact on Managed Care, and he provides resources, tools, and guidance on comparative effectiveness research. He interacts with state and national pharmacy associations, schools of pharmacy, pharmaceutical manufacturers, managed care administrators, and regulatory agencies.
“The most rewarding part of my current position,” Nik says, “is for the first time, I am seeing the public policy process unfold from legislation and regulation, to implementation and practice.” He is involved in discussions on how laws should be written, how they will be implemented in the pharmacy, and how they will affect patients. Nik says, “I do smile when I am at a table surrounded by physicians, lawyers, scientists, and policy makers, and I am the only pharmacy technician in the room speaking for the pharmacy profession.”
Nik became PTCB certified in 1999 after completing a formal accredited pharmacy technician training program. He knew that becoming certified showed employers and colleagues he was taking his occupation seriously, and he felt being a CPhT would lead fellow pharmacy technicians in the same direction.
Nik went on to work in several positions including a year-long stint at the National Institutes of Health as an IV pharmacy technician, 10 years at Kaiser Permanente as a technician, where he provided pharmacy service in the fast-paced urgent care facility while working as a liaison with pharmacists and medical providers. He later was employed at Cardinal Health as a pharmaceutical account manager.
Nik has been a teacher at Northern Virginia Community College in the Pharmacy Technician Training Program, and has contributed to published white papers in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association and the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.
He says he hopes that in the future, pharmacy technicians will have options to obtain specialized certifications for various settings and disciplines. “With the evolving roles of pharmacy technicians, I hope in the near future CPhTs will hold certifications in pharmacy informatics, drug utilization review, and medication reconciliation to name a few,” Nik says. “This will empower CPhTs to expand their craft and take the profession to higher prominence in healthcare.”