Jennifer Comford, CPhT
Day Lead Technician, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO
Jennifer Comford, CPhT, the Day Lead Technician at Children’s Mercy Hospital (CMH) in Kansas City, MO, was originally hired by CMH for a part-time position six years ago. She had been a veterinary technician at local animal shelters, including the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and Wayside Waifs, where she gained hands-on experience with injections and medical terminology. At CMH she soon discovered she loved the daily challenges and opportunities of pharmacy work, and quickly advanced from PRN technician to Technician I, and then up through levels II and III to her current position.
Jennifer decided to become PTCB-certified in 2011. “I felt that becoming certified was an important step in furthering my career in pharmacy,” says Jennifer. “It was important to me to earn the trust and respect of the pharmacists, and I knew achieving my certification would help me do that.”
Her responsibilities at CMH, a comprehensive pediatric hospital with more than 40 specialty services, include daily workflow management of the main pharmacy and four satellite pharmacies. She creates and maintains the work schedule for more than 60 technicians, managing all medication requests coming through the main pharmacy, and triaging all incoming phone calls.
Since becoming certified, Jennifer has also been the lead technician in the hospital’s interdisciplinary effort to reduce missing medications, an initiative that has significantly decreased the volume of missing stock. This effort is part of CMH’s implementation of new roles for pharmacy technicians to improve patient care. The CMH pharmacy adopted a department-wide practice model that relied heavily on the assignment of pharmacy technicians to designated medical teams*.
“Most important to me are the little things that occur on a daily basis,” says Jennifer. “For example, being able to follow through on investigating a missing medication request, or making sure nurses have what they need to complete their tasks. It is important for pharmacy and nursing to work hand-in-hand to ensure patients are receiving medications they need in a timely fashion. Gaining and keeping nurses’ trust is very rewarding to me.”
Jennifer serves on CMH’s Narcotics Committee, Sterile Preparation Committee, and Pharmacy Technician Internship Committee. She also assists with nursing’s new hire orientations and initial pharmacy tours to give new nurses an understanding of the steps involved in preparing medications.
Jennifer was selected as a semifinalist for the 2013 PTCB CPhT of the Year. She has given presentations at state pharmacy meetings on expanding pharmacy technician roles, including “One Small Step for Pharmacy, One Giant Leap for Technicians” at the 2012 Kansas Council of Health-System Pharmacists/Missouri Society of Health-System Pharmacists (KCHP/MSHP) Annual Meeting, and “The Future of Pharmacy: Technicians in Leadership Roles” at the 2013 KCHP Annual Meeting. As an active member of KCHP, she encourages fellow pharmacy technicians to take part in organizations to further their own careers. Jennifer is working to complete her Bachelor’s Degree at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City.
Read about other outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.
*Read more about expanding pharmacy technician roles in the Pharmacy Purchasing & Products article, Advancing Pharmacy Technician Roles in Pharmacy.