Interview With Jessica Leffler Program Coordinator and Instructor at Mission College

About: Jessica Leffler is a program coordinator and instructor with Mission College. She looks into curriculum development and has an expertise in teaching Intro to Pharmacy Practice, Pharmacy Terms and Abbreviations, Rx Processing, Pharmacy Calculations and Pharmacy Law. Additionally she also works as a pharmacy technician at Costco Pharmacy. As a pharmacy technician she brings in her experiences of 15 years, having worked both in inpatient and outpatient settings from San Jose Medical Group and Valley Medical Clinics. When she is not working she enjoys spending family time on their boat at the family lake house.

What made you take up pharmacy technician as a career and how has your journey of 15 years in this field been?

I was a cashier at Costco and I admired the pharmacy department and it's staff, I took it upon myself to talk to their staff and see what their job entailed. It interested me and I transferred to their department as a cashier. The pharmacist told me if I worked for 1200 hours I could apply and take the state board exam to become a technician which I did. Back then that was considered being "grandfathered in". After becoming a technician I worked at Costco for 3 years and then decided I wanted to experience a hospital setting so I applied and started working as a technician at a psychiatric hospital. After 5 years there a co-worker asked me if I would be interested in teaching so I starting teaching Rx processing for Mission College which eventually lead me to teaching other modules and becoming the program director which is my primary job now. I also, went back to Costco pharmacy in 2007 and I work on-call for them.

What is the most challenging part of the pharmacy technician program?

For our students the most challenging part is learning top 200 drugs (brand/generic & indication) as well as pharmacy math calculations.

Do you advice any kind of preparation to students applying to your program?

Start learning top 200 medications & medical abbreviations.

According to you which is the best way to keep up-to-date about the pharmaceutical world?

Stay involved with the industry-become a member of ASHP or NPTA and most importantly stay working in the field.

What is that one advice you give your students to achieve success in the pharmacy technician program?

Come to class everyday ready to learn & take advantage of tutoring. It also helps if they can get a part time job while they attend the program as a pharmacy clerk.

We greatly appreciate Jessica Leffler for sharing her experiences and insights with our readers.