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Sheila Woodruff, CPhT

by Laura Humphrey | Apr 04, 2014

Sheila Woodruff, CPhT

Pharmacy Technician Supervisor, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL

Sheila Woodruff, CPhT, stumbled into pharmacy work after being laid off from her factory job at age 18. When she visited her local pharmacy in Havre de Grace, MD, to ask if they were hiring, she landed a photo lab position. “Pharmacy interested me from day one,” Sheila says, so she began learning about pharmacy operations on the side from one of the pharmacists. After assisting in the pharmacy on a busy day, she was offered a permanent position there, where she eventually learned to compound, rotate stock, order supplies, and manage inventories. She joined Walmart in Aberdeen, MD, four years later and was promoted to Customer Service Manager within two weeks. “There I managed a larger group of people," says Sheila, "and handled last minute issues, training requirements, and business needs.”

Sheila became PTCB-certified in 2000 while working for Eckerd Drug, where technicians who became certified received pay raises and promotions, and were reimbursed the cost of the PTCE if they passed.

“The best part of being certified is recognition and acceptance from pharmacists," says Sheila. "They realize how hard CPhTs work and how valuable we are to them and to patients. Our knowledge has expanded to make us vital in running a smooth pharmacy operation. We play a critical role in reducing errors, and with the expanded responsibilities that come with being certified, I feel I have a sense of empowerment, and have a voice that will be heard. Before being certified, I didn't feel as important or appreciated."

Today Sheila is Pharmacy Technician and PharmaCARE Supervisor at MacDill Air Force Base Pharmacy, assisting the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge to run the outpatient pharmacy, which processes more than 154,000 prescriptions a year. “Being part of a healthcare team that works closely together to care for those who have fought for our freedom and rights,” she says, “is most rewarding to me.” She maintains training records for all civilian and contract technicians, and controls the Narcotic Vault to prevent errors, abuse and diversion. During a staff shortage, she served as temporary Assistant Flight Chief and helped supervise 58 staff and four different operations that fill a total of 646,000 prescriptions a year.

A designated patient advocate, Sheila shares all patient comments, positive and negative, with her staff. “We have a lot to gain from listening to what patients truly feel, even if there may not be easy solutions to their concerns,” she says. Sheila is a Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor at the base, teaching BLS and Healthcare Provider CPR/AED to military and civilian employees.

On March 4, she was awarded the Department of Defense Civilian Employee of the Year Award through the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Sheila was one of eight nominated to appear on the ballot for PTCB’s 2013 inaugural election of the PTCB CPhT of the Year. She has received multiple awards for military and civilian leadership, and volunteers for such groups as Hands on Suncoast, Meals on Wheels, and Salvation Army for which she continually recruits new volunteers.

Read about more outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.