Health Services Technician Second Class (HS2)
Craik Clinic, US Coast Guard Training Center, Yorktown, VA
As the primary pharmacy technician at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, VA, Johnathan Gunn, CPhT, often manages the pharmacy while a regional pharmacist oversees the operation via remote access. Johnathan is responsible for prescription fills, medication orders, inventory management, patient care, night locker and crash cart maintenance, controlled substance audits, medication recall reviews, and patient counseling. Since 2012, he has performed duties that would usually be assigned to multiple technicians. "A major challenge has been the composite responsibility of running the pharmacy,” he says, “but it has been a welcome opportunity for growth."
The most rewarding aspect of his work, he says, is that it gives him the ability to help people in need. “I play a key role in all aspects of a patient encounter,” he says, “including screening patients for a medical provider, drawing blood, filling/dispensing medication, counseling patients on proper use, and ensuring a patient is transferred to receive specialty care when it is not offered at our facility.”
Johnathan became PTCB-certified 3 years ago. “Maintaining my PTCB Certification is very useful for my job,” he says, “specifically because of the continuing education requirements. My knowledge has grown in many areas where I felt I was weak before.”
Johnathan recently took the initiative to overhaul the pharmacy inventory, resulting in the return of unnecessary medications and savings of more than $30,000. Johnathan also undertook a quality improvement study to ensure patients’ allergy information was updated in online medical records so patients are protected from potentially adverse reactions.
Last year, Johnathan worked with the medical staff director to optimize placement of clinic stock medications, allowing for faster delivery of care and decreased overall expenditures. He developed a new standardization process for medications stocked in the crash carts across the Coast Guard District 5 Medical System encompassing all Coast Guard clinics in a five-state region. Johnathan researched medications in the local health system and cross referenced this data with updated emergency medicine guidelines, and then proposed an updated list of stock to match the needs and capabilities of all district clinics. He also implemented a power failure protocol to preserve the integrity of medications and vaccines that require refrigeration.
Johnathan graduated from military pharmacy technician school with honors, and was soon deployed to Sitka, AK where he made multiple improvements in pharmacy operations. He was subsequently awarded a commendation medal, and later named the 2012 Coast Guard Pharmacy Technician of the Year. Johnathan maintains a 4.0 average in college and is working on pre-requisites for the military Physician’s Assistant program. His certifications include CPhT, CPR, EMT, ACLS, and PHLTS Provider.
Alex was selected as one of seven finalists for 2014 PTCB CPhT of the Year for his contribution to patient safety at his workplace.
Read about other outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.