Karen Sue Marlowe, CPhT
Senior Account Representative, QS/1 Data Systems
Karen Sue Marlowe, CPhT, held her first pharmacy job in 1987 as a part-time technician at a local hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. Within a year she was promoted to full-time IV room technician. Her employer was aware of the growing role of technicians in the pharmacy workflow and offered her an incentive to become certified. At that time, only state-level certification through self-study was available. Karen studied hard, and became state-certified in 1990, and PTCB-Certified in 1995 when her certification was recognized the year of PTCB’s founding.
Today she works in the long-term care (LTC) pharmacy software industry as a Senior Account Representative and travels frequently around the country. “I've never let myself be afraid to try something new," Karen says. "My career started at the beginning of the age of pharmacy technology, and I learned quickly that nothing ever stays the same. Being flexible and open to change is a huge asset for a pharmacy team member, and I strive to be this way.”
Karen says electronic medical administration record (eMAR) technology, e-prescribing, and hardware and software interfaces are always evolving. “I am continually educating myself to keep ahead of the changes,” she says. She is responsible for training, implementation, data conversions, and continuing education for her customers using LTC pharmacy software and PrimeCare.
PTCB Certification has allowed Karen to work in a range of areas of pharmacy, she says. “I believe my PTCB Certification, and my willingness to embrace continuing education, have given my employer the confidence to know I have the skills to bring success to the pharmacy.” In the course of her career, she opened satellite pharmacies in ICU departments, and implemented nursing unit dispensing machines.
“I've handled some unusual pharmacy responsibilities,” she says, “such as monitoring frozen stem cells for re-infusion, coordinating bio-hazard disposal, and organizing clinical drug investigation programs.” She broke new ground in her state when she learned to train others to use the first cart-fill robot. She mixed chemotherapy at an outpatient cancer center, was a retail software implementation and training specialist, and wrote technical software training guides.
Karen says she tells other technicians starting out: “Don't settle for the 'every day' or ordinary. Reach high with your career goals, continually learn on the job, and volunteer for new projects. We technicians are the bones of the pharmacy, so demonstrate your value by living up to your credentials and push towards a better patient experience.” In the future, she wants to learn more about marketing and law. “I have a deep interest in the legal aspects of pharmacy,” she says.
Karen has also participated in nursing-pharmacy committees, and was the technician internship program supervisor for a local university.
Read about other outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.