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Industry expert prescribes training to address job openings

Donna Janes-Foreman

Donna Janas-Foreman, a pharmacy director at an area hospital, says the training delivered at Gateway's Pharmacy Technician program means industry-ready graduates.

Donna Janas-Foreman’s prescription to address the many open pharmacy technician openings in Southeastern Wisconsin?

Quality training, producing quality, career-ready applicants qualified to work in a retail or hospital setting and can achieve certification through a national professional.

The way to gain those applicants? The Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha’s director of pharmacy says that training is being provided right now at Gateway Technical College through its Pharmacy Technician program.

“The main issue with pharmacy techs is that there is a great need and not enough qualified candidates,” says Donna. “People think that they are just glorified cashiers. They aren’t. Pharmacy technicians are the backbone of retail and hospital pharmacy operations.

“They have a lot of responsibility placed upon them.  That’s where the training comes in. That’s what’s needed.”

Donna has worked for many years in the pharmacy industry – the first 16 as a pharmacy tech herself – and has that unique insight only a veteran of the business can possess. She also serves as chairperson on Gateway’s Pharmacy Technician advisory board, bringing together industry knowledge with ensuring students are trained to meet the standards of this profession.

“Gateway has listened well to its advisory board, they have listened to the industry. The program has been tailored to prepare students in the skills they will need in the workforce.”

Gateway’s two-semester Pharmacy Technician program provides students with the training and education to be a technician in retail and a hospital. Hospitals already require its technicians to attain accreditation from a professional governing body, and retail will in years to come.

Gateway provides students with the education to be able to take and pass those certifications, allowing them to apply in both settings.

Pharmacy techs in a hospital have many different responsibilities, including filling and troubleshooting automated dispensing machines, preparing sterile products in the IV room, processing patient orders, ensuring patient safety during the medication repacking processes as well as assisting the pharmacist. Donna points out that one of the first graduates of the newly revamped program has already landed a positon at Aurora Medical Center Kenosha hospital.