Master Sergeant Jessica Hughes, US Air Force, CPhT
Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Pharmacy Support, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ
2013 PTCB CPhT of the Year
Master Sergeant Jessica Hughes, US Air Force, CPhT, spent one year at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania before joining the Air Force in 1998 when she enlisted as a Munitions System Apprentice. "I was a go-where-the-wind-takes-you sort of girl during my late teens,” says Jessica, but later when she found herself on track towards a munitions career, she took control of her future.
“I was 23 and wondering what I could do once I got out of the military,” Jessica says. “I was not really interested in munitions, and there wasn’t anything I wanted to do with a munitions background in the civilian world.” She was excited to be given the opportunity to switch to Pharmacy for her next military placement, and she became PTCB-certified in 2006.
Her most rewarding experience as a CPhT, she says, was her deployment to Afghanistan in 2008, when she prepared 1,300 IV medications, 70% of the total workload, and provided drug therapy support to more than 900 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) patients. Jessica says she was leaned on as a “pharmacist as well as a technician” because she worked overnight shifts when there was no pharmacist available. "The experience opened my eyes to much more than what I normally see in a clinic setting; I was called to traumas, and had to make IVs and TPNs, and I was asked about things that were new to me, but I was depended upon to find answers."
Today, Jessica is the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Pharmacy Support at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. She oversees the management of dispensed narcotics, controlled substances, and monitored medications; a $6-million pharmacy budget; and clinic inspections. She plays an active role in front-line pharmacy operations, researches medication shortages, and is a tobacco cessation instructor. She achieved a 70% quit rate among the more than 200 program participants in her most recent cessation course.
Jessica served at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois from 2004-2011 where 540,000 prescriptions were processed annually between two base pharmacies and a satellite. She was in charge of inpatient services and pharmacy logistics, and temporarily managed the satellite pharmacy. Jessica oversaw the compounding of more than 2,000 sterile products yearly, and was responsible for 23 emergency crash carts.
Since joining the military, Jessica has continued to take college courses online. Now enrolled in American Military University, she is just four classes away from earning her Bachelors degree.
In 2013, Jessica was named the PTCB CPhT of the Year. In addition to this honor, Jessica has been awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal, and is the first technician in her pharmacy to become qualified in the Tech Check Tech USAF Program.
PTCB's CPhT of the Year Program launched in 2013 to honor and recognize individual achievement in patient care, leadership, service, and mentorship as a way to encourage and support excellence and innovation among all pharmacy technicians.
Read about more outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.