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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews


Mar 7, 2018

Mark started his career in hospital pharmacy in 1998, and has spent 20 years either training technicians in the field or in the classroom. His major areas of expertise are automation optimization and public speaking. When he's not teaching how to be a competent pharmacy technician, he enjoys teaching swing dancing to one and all. 
 
He is the president of the Pharmacy Technician Educator's Council 
 
https://www.facebook.com/rxptec/
 
Full Transcript:
 

Welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy leaders podcast is a member of the pharmacy podcast network with interviews and advice on building your professional network brand and a purposeful second income from students residents and innovative professionals so welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast today I have Mark Brunton on who is the president of the pharmacy technician educators Council I've been to the last three national meetings it is one an organization that you absolutely want to be a part of if you are in any way involved with technicians and to is so valuable the people that I've met through there mark himself started his career in hospital pharmacy in 1998 spent 20 years either training technicians in the field or in the classroom and his major areas of expertise are automation optimization and public speaking when he's not teaching how to be a competent pharmacy technician enjoys teaching swing dancing to one and all so mark welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast hi thank you for having me so mark tell me a little bit about your leadership road everybody's leadership Road is a little different how did you go from I am a pharmacy technician to on teaching pharmacy technicians to I'm president of the people teaching pharmacy technicians that that is definitely a crazy road so I started out I was very young in hospital was still in high school as a courier until I moved up to be a technician and I think the need for leadership kind of started there we got an education specifically we upgraded and had the Pyxis connect system when that first came out and none of the pharmacists knew really how to utilize it to the best of its abilities so I just made a manual for it and distributed it because I wanted them not to be so frustrated with the technology and from there it kind of kept going and one of the pharmacists suggested that I be a teacher at a local college so I applied for that and moved into the role as program director there got my start speaking with a SHP at their mid-year Convention and then started to speak at P Tech and from there then just decided to run for office okay so tell me a little bit about you know kind of having that balance in your life it sounds like you don't just do one thing so tell me a little bit about the public speaking site first I'd started Toastmasters when I was really young so I really enjoy public speaking but what is it that attracted you to public speaking and what kind of topics do you generally talk on sure so my background was in theater actually from middle school all the way into college and then beyond and like the community theater sector which is not a route that I see often among technicians specifically I think there's just a it's very - very kind of divergent paths in terms of being very technically minded - to the arts side of things sure right left-brain right-brain sure right so the ability to get up in front of people and basically perform was not was not foreign to me and so it's actually a very useful complementary skill set so I saw someone speaking once admit year and thought you know and I can get up there and do that and kind of threw my ring in the hat in terms of what I speak about at first it was things I was doing in the field with automation optimization different ways to utilize Pyxis for example that we discovered just through trying things out and then it moved into teaching techniques pedagogy and the different types of ways to engage the students that I was encountering in the vocational sector so tell me a little bit about what it is to teach someone to get a job right now pharmacy technician is a white-hot career they're you know they're you cannot get and keep quality pharmacy technicians what is it that I guess um what is it that really started this kind of explosion of pharmacy technician opportunities because right now it's really great time to be a Tec absolutely I've just seen an exponential growth even here in Las Vegas and what I found the most interesting part of that in the training was that it's two folds and specifically we have to of course give them the industry specific knowledge the drug words and the techniques for sterile nostril compounding for example but really in order to deal with this explosion and and be able to provide quality technicians then we get into the professionalism aspect we get into the the soft skills and the critical thinking portions that you people have in varying levels that come into our programs so getting them all on the same minimum level is the interesting challenge I know where you're going with that so tell me I do know one guy who is a recruiter as a recruiting business tell me a little bit about how you do teach those soft skills so many businesses want the person who's you know engaging works well with the customers works well with the patients maybe somebody hasn't been in retail or somebody hasn't been out there how do you take someone from where maybe they didn't know how to act in the professional setting to becoming a professional um lots of role-playing well it's up your alley yeah coming up with different scenarios and making them work through it I think is the best which needs to happen before they even go out into their experience all rotation sure so that they can at least have an idea of what to expect you know I think the acting background only comes back to that too because it's like improv and it's like an audition you know how do you put forth that that best version of you kind of thing no definitely well let's actually take a tour of the National meeting that's where I kind of met everyone and I know that there is a part at ASHP where you know there's part dedicated to technicians and I was at ASHP last this last year but tell me a little bit about the National meeting what was your first national meeting and then maybe you know what you get out of the meeting and then I'll talk about what I get out of it sure mine was the about three years ago as well and I was simply amazed at the fact that it was so specific to what I did as an educator because that's what we are but the fact that everyone was talking about the same stuff and all of them had many different approaches to it so the variety and the scope of that to see all in one spot was awesome and and the bid network and meet these different people doing the exact same thing that I was doing and maybe in a slightly different fashion allows to compare notes and share different experiences we've had some times commiserate but that that stuck out to me the most that it was so well to two technicians specifically yeah I've heard the expression niche down until it hurts where you just make sure like you are speaking directly to that person and I remember talking with another educator and we're like this these are our people this is our home this is us you know we teach technicians they teach two technicians and it was I just felt so comfortable there tell me a little bit about some of the relationships you've made there and how they've helped you kind of with the program that you had had oh well now I know I know program directors and educators and I don't know how many states in the country and it's been it's been a great resource to be able to reach out to them and ask different things that I've encountered or they asked me you know what are you doing about this standard or this activity we have a Google Group for 4p tech and a lot of people go there to ask everyone about different things going on and share ideas and even documents and exercises that they've developed versus trying to reinvent the wheel so that's been a great boon and I'm friends with some of them on Facebook and we now develop fast friendships and it's a it's a great group of people yeah when I started I set my curriculum to the accreditation standard and then I was like oh my gosh now we're at the accreditation standard and then I've got all of these kind of checkboxes to do and each time I put a question out there it really didn't take long maybe a couple hours sometimes maybe a day or two but I would almost always get either an answer or an answer and a document like well I've already solved that problem for you but tell me a little bit about the focus on accreditation at the actual meeting they're usually a couple of sessions just on accreditation one on the visit then one on the actual getting your own site in credited as part of a SHP accreditation absolutely we always dedicate a certain portion of programming to that with PTAC in order to explain that as well those who aren't already accredited because we know that not all of our members have gone through that process or are going to that process and want to know more so they they definitely walk them through what to expect during a visit what kinds of things they're looking for how best to prepare and the Q&A at the end is very useful for a case to case basis so that that time is when people can go listen this is what I have going on where I'm at what do I do and so it's a direct line to the people that have all the answers you don't know it and they come to you tell me a little bit about PTC B as well that tends to be a perennial visitor to the National Conference so you know we've got the two different certifications but I think PDC B I know has been there at least the last two years tell me a little bit about their involvement I know MacAlister has been there I think yeah both times that I was there so I saw I saw him as well so tell me a little bit about the interaction with PTC B um they they have a very close working relationship with us and definitely seek out feedback on on initiatives and things that they are are moving forward with to see how educators would have input into that because many of the test takers are now coming directly from the school so our preparation of the students gives insight into what they can expect and what we want to see from them as evidence now they have the they just started the sterile product exam which is rolling out and I think is a reflection of the changes to our field and the different levels of responsibility and no I agree with the PDC be certified compound sterile prepared it's compounded sterile preparation technician program right CPC SPT I'm getting acronym crazy PTC BC SPT yeah and they you know it's I guess the one thing that I really took away is that there's always going to be changes and it was just nice to be around people who had answers to you know what's going on next so tell me a little bit about you know how does P tech work with sterile cups not sterile compounding directly but how can we learn a little bit more about the opportunities may be in sterile compounding versus some of the retail opportunities I'm wondering if they will be able to have specific information or links to careers in that field I mean I learn mine in the hospital you know and I've seen the proliferation of home infusion as well as the outsourcing that's come about like Capps Central Admin of pharmacy services that will we'll do a lot of the batch IVs for different facilities in a particular region so those are definitely what I've seen coming into existence where if you just want to make IVs that's what you can do okay you know um you were especially involved with technology tell me a little bit about some of the technology that's that's come out and the expertise that somebody would to get those kinds of jobs for the base level of operation of the technology that we're seeing I think anyone with would just what we call tech savvy and would just not be intimidated by different user experiences so you know the different menus and things with I think that they they've definitely especially with automation it follows along the same lines as even your mobile phones now you know with them if you know how to navigate a menu via a touchscreen you're pretty good in terms of the advanced roles for optimization and things learning how the backend works with different options for reporting features and things like that so being able to look at the data would would be a useful skill set the manual well know that's something that we kind of you took that on yourself but that's kind of interesting that you would like okay well here's a problem I'm not just gonna solve it for myself I know how to do it I'm gonna solve it for everybody but in many ways we kind of have to create our own manual for as educators that were here's my curriculum here so I'm gonna run things here how did you kind of go from you know just okay I need to fix my problem too I can help by publishing this document that's going to help other people sure hmm when I heard of people having the same problems I was encountering but had already figured out a solution too that's when I realized maybe I should put this out from everyone else it may not work for everybody but it's an option and when I say when I said the manual here's what I see with technology all forms is when they create a new a new piece of hardware that we utilize be it a a pill counting a laser a pill counting machine to an automated dispensing cabinet to an IV compounder they will teach you the basic operation of the machine because that's the easiest way to go about it for the orientation but there's a plethora of different options that are available if you read their manual and and look at what all of the bells and whistles are that are potentially there which actually gives the machine a lot more capabilities and we are usually initially trained on ok so it sounds like some it sounds like you have to have kind of a what's the word a champion for the person the go-to person for the technology can very much be the pharmacy technician who's kind of just said no I just like doing this stuff I understand this stuff and I took the time to read the manual where the rest of us are sitting there like look can you fix it or you know it's why is it spinning this out instead of this or wise why is it not working I feel like sometimes maybe we don't take enough time before hand once we get a new technology and it sounds like technicians role can often be kind of the person that that kind of bridges the gap I guess you would say absolutely absolutely yeah that is a an area of that we can grow I mean in the name we are technicians do technical stuff and allow the pharmacists to be able to use all of the knowledge of their of their more advanced degree and work on the stuff they want to work on and we'll handle all of the stuff that they don't have to worry about you know and then then part of that is that is that technical aspect and it comes from a desire and uh it's it wasn't completely out true astok I will say that I want to make my job easy not just cuz I want help everybody but because it would make the running of daily operations flow more smoothly so you know that's that that's a big carrot to dangle out there that makes a lot of sense okay well um so tell me a little bit about the meeting when where it's going to be and then what's the best way if someone's a technician or a technician educator or a pharmacist how they could get in touch with someone to get registered absolutely the conference itself is in Indianapolis Indiana so we will be doing a circuit of cities the last one of course was in Las Vegas my hometown so I think there's a plans to have five or six different locations but the next one's Indianapolis it is July 12th through the 14th of this year so our website is pharmacy tech educators dot-com you can also find us on Facebook if you just look up p-tech or Pharmacy Technician educators Council and we post lots of stuff there as well as on our homepage once registration opens we will have a link and we'll share it on all of our social media for actual registration but it will be through the website there's a tab for the conference and all that and I've asked you a lot of questions are there any things that you want to say or any advice that you want to give before we sign off I think we can all agree that we have seen what makes a good technician and what makes a better technics in if we've had any experience in the field and my driving desire was always to make help create a better technician just by giving them the tools and the skills to go out there and end and do everything they have the capacity for and the the ability to do and by doing that we then elevate the profession if all the technicians out there are doing the maximum amount they can I think that opens up new possibilities new roles and responsibilities and I'm just glad to have a part in that so you know I asked my why my way of giving back to the profession and thank you for having me on the show you got the tech the educator of the Year award last year because you're the man I appreciate that and I and I was actually upstairs and I think yeah the president had to like text me like hey you need to come down for something and I was like what you know I was like I might you know it would because it was lunch and I just wasn't really hungry right then I was going to come down a little bit later but that was a that was a funny story yeah yeah but no that was a that was a wonderful honor and it was really really nice to get that award well mark thanks so much for being on the pharmacy leaders podcast thank you very much my pleasure support for this episode comes from good night pharmacology 350 brand and generic name drugs with classifications a leading resource for students in the United States United Kingdom and Australia print ebook and audiobook available on audible iTunes and amazon.com thank you for listening to the pharmacy leaders podcast with your host Tony Guerra be sure to share the show with a hashtag hash pharmacy leaders