Lakeland HealthCare, St. Joseph, MI
Throughout her 40-year pharmacy career, Pamela Crossman, CPhT, has demonstrated her commitment to leadership, excellence and patient safety. She is the Pharmacy Supervisor for Lakeland HealthCare in St. Joseph, MI, a multi-hospital organization that includes an outpatient center and retail pharmacy. Pam hires, schedules, and trains the 40 pharmacy technicians and interns employed throughout the complex, and is responsible for ensuring they maintain competencies in their specialties.
Referring to herself as resident “fire fighter”, she says she often “puts out fires” that ignite when unusual or important pharmacy questions arise, or nursing and ancillary departments need assistance from a pharmacy systems expert. As the Pyxis manager for all Lakeland sites, she handles installation, maintenance, system upgrades, and formulary inventory for more than 60 set-ups. She also directs multiple employees who liaise with other hospital departments, including finance, nursing, and quality management.
Pam completed her associates degree 40 years ago, and then accepted a pharmacy technician position at Lakeland HealthCare. “From that time on, I was offered new roles and opportunities for advancement, and moved up in my pharmacy career,” Pam says. In December 1981, Pam passed the Michigan Pharmacists Association’s Educational Center Certification, the first exam ever offered by MPA, and was promoted to Pharmacy Technician 1 with increased responsibilities. In 1986, the hospital selected her for training and certification in a new computer system, and she advanced to Pharmacy Systems Analyst. She was promoted to Pharmacy Supervisor in 2004.
“Pam has been a champion for technician education and certification for as long as I have known her, which is 38 years,” says Neil R. Johnson, RPh, Pharmacy Manager at Lakeland. “She is an example of a visionary who through education, training, and perseverance is expanding the role and importance of the pharmacy technician in today’s complex healthcare environment.”
Pam became PTCB Certified 20 years ago in August 1995, and prides herself on completing at least twice the required 20 CE hours during each recertification cycle. Her hospital requires technicians to be actively certified when hired and to maintain their status. “Being PTCB Certified as a Pharmacy Supervisor adds to my confidence and empowers me to be the strongest leader I can be. I enjoy sharing knowledge and insights, and I encourage my team to continually learn as much as they can,” Pam says. “Every day, I have the opportunity to inspire other CPhTs to give optimal patient care and put patients first. I advanced in my career as a CPhT because of the increased skills I gained through CE courses, webinars, seminars, and my own initiative.”
To advance patient safety in her hospital, Pam led the implementation of bar code scanning of medications for loading and refilling Pyxis, a process that significantly increased accuracy. She was instrumental in obtaining and installing dispense prep/check software and now trains all employees using it in IV rooms. Pam will implement Pyxis C-II Safe equipment at two sites and install additional Pyxis units in new locations during the coming year.
Pam serves on the Advisory Board of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences for Southwestern Michigan College and the Healthcare Education Institute Advisory Board for Lake Michigan College. She is the pharmacy mentor at Lakeland for high school students and interns from the nearby Health Career Academy and local colleges and institute programs. Active in professional organizations, she is a member of the Michigan Society of Pharmacy Technicians and American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Pam often gives presentations on poison prevention at schools and health fairs.
Read about other outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.