When you hear Annie Yu, BAMA pharmacy tech program graduate, speak about working in healthcare you know her patients are in good hands. “I’ve always been the type to care for the well being of others,” says Annie. “I wanted a career that would benefit society and make a positive impact on the world, one patient at a time.”
Annie’s motivation to pursue a pharmacy career began under sad circumstances. “My grandmother passed away in 2010. I wished there was something I could have done, or that there was some kind of medicine I could have discovered so others wouldn’t have to suffer like she did. From that day on, I wanted to get into the healthcare field to help others as much as I can. That’s when my interest in pharmacy and medicine grew. I promised my grandmother I’d become a pharmacist, but before I made such a commitment, I wanted to make sure it was going to be something I’d enjoy.”
Annie’s first step in fulfilling that promise, while also finding out if a pharmacy career would suit her, was to train to be a pharmacy technician. “I chose BAMA’s pharmacy tech program because after achieving my bachelors of science in Chemistry, I thought to myself: what kind of job would lead to a career in the future that would allow me to practice my interest in chemistry and at the same time help people?”
Next, Annie researched healthcare schools and pharmacy tech programs in San Francisco so she could stay close to home and family. “Some schools I looked at were costly, and didn’t provide much hands-on experience in their curriculum. For me, hands on experience such as lab work is crucial for my learning; that’s how I learn best!”
Annie’s research brought her to BAMA where she first had the opportunity to experience a taste of what it would be like to be a student before committing to the school. “I shadowed a pharmacy technician class in progress, and immediately fell in love with how the classroom was set up like a pharmacy. The curriculum, hands-on experience, and instructor’s lecture style was the best fit for me. And to to top it all off, the program also fit my budget. Price was definitely one of the determining factors when I was researching schools. Luckily, BAMA has a payment plan option which I opted for.”
As well as cost, one other thing sold Annie on BAMA’s pharmacy tech program. “What really made me 100% certain that BAMA was for me — was the instructor. She was very passionate about what she does. That type of passion assured me that BAMA was the right choice for me. ”
BAMA’s pharmacy tech program covers six modules, designed to prepare a pharmacy technician to work in a variety of healthcare settings. “The hands-on labs done in class were the best,” says Annie. “The program included performing real life pharmacy technician duties. Most people think that a pharmacy technician just counts pills. However, there’s actually a lot more to it than just that. I learned sterile and non-sterile compounding, how to make IV bags, and many other techniques as well. The program was really an eye opener. I loved that.”
Once Annie finished her BAMA training, she completed her externship at Walgreens, which was a very familiar place. “At the time, I was working at Walgreens, so I was automatically going to be placed there for my externship.”
In fact, Annie had been a model Walgreen’s employee before her pharmacy technician externship. “I’m very proud that I’ve been a Walgreens Employee of the Month several times as a customer service associate. I’ve had multiple customers ask me if I was the manager since I was so knowledgeable about the store. It really made me happy that I was able to help customers out, and that my help was always thanked and appreciated.”
Annie’s externship at Walgreens was a great success, and she’s now working for the company as a pharmacy technician. “What I like most about my current job is the patient interaction. I feel that pharmacy technicians are often under appreciated. So with that being said, when a patient thanks me for helping them it really makes my day,” says Annie. “I feel like l serve a big purpose not only in helping patients get their medication, but in being a translator as many patients have a hard time communicating due to a language barrier. I’ve definitely been using my Spanish speaking skills more often, which helps me communicate with patients better and also improves my Spanish.”
As you can imagine, Annie’s pharmacy work keeps her busy, involving such duties as refilling patient medications, faxing patient refill requests to doctors, reconstituting oral suspension medications, and ringing up customers.
When she’s not at work, Annie’s social life is just as active. “I’m a very family-oriented type of person, and I feel there are never enough hours in a day to spend with family. I also really enjoy watching scary movies. And I love cooking and baking, shopping, traveling, knitting, and going out with friends. I collect makeup too – I love doing makeup!”
Does Annie have any final thoughts about life at BAMA and the pharmacy tech program? “I enjoyed my BAMA experience very much. In fact, if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would! It was great to be in a classroom filled with individuals who shared the same goals and interests as me. If you have even the slightest interest in coming to BAMA – I’d say go for it!”
BAMA is proud to partner with Walgreens to provide students with a 240-hour, on-the-job
clinical pharmacy technician externship at one of the largest drugstore chains in the US.