NEWS RELEASE-Immediate Release


TCRHCC Pharmacy Technician Training Program set to graduate its first cohort May 13

Tuba City, Ariz - The pharmacy department at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp (TCRHCC) is growing their own pharmacy technicians through a unique Pharmacy Technician Training Program.

The program which began Jan. 6 and ends March 6 will graduate its first cohort March 13 with a graduation ceremony scheduled from 3-6 p.m. at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp.

Mildred Garcia, Chief Ancillary Officer, explained the TCRHCC mission, vision and values are the prime motivators for the development and implementation of the training program.

“This is an example of how PL 93-638 Self Determination health programs are flexible enough to grow our own professionals from our local community”, adds Lynette Bonar, TCRHCC Chief Executive Officer.

Logistically, Tuba City is located in a rural area and recruiting pharmacy technicians has always been a huge challenge that often created short staffing for the department.

“As a department, we had to strategize on how to address the shortage of these vital and critical positions to run operations of the pharmacy,” said Garcia.

Garcia explained John Evans, interim director of the pharmacy, proposed the development and initiation of the Pharmacy Technician Academy.

“He facilitated connection with the Vo-Tech program that would provide an accredited curriculum and materials for this type of program, and the proposal was given to the executive committee,” she said. “The proposal was approved by our Hospital Governing Board through our Strategic Plan and this pilot program was financially supported by the Human Resources Department and managed by the pharmacy department.”

To get things rolling, Darcy Brown, certified pharmacy technician, was recruited to initiate the program as its instructor. She was sent to Texas where she completed her training as a pharmacy technician instructor.

The program then began the recruitment process which began in October 2019 and selections were determined based on a written essay and a math test.

“Much to our surprise, we had 34 applicants that came from places as far away as Chinle and Ganado, Flagstaff and from right here in Tuba City,” said Garcia. “It was exciting that this program had such a great response. A selection of 15 participants was made and 12 confirmed acceptance.”

The first cohort includes: Derek Davis, Ganado, Arizona; Chance DuPuy, Tuba City; Ariane Farnsworth, Tuba City; Evan Fowler, Tuba City; Doreen Johnson, Tuba City; Shelbie Begay-Kewenvoyouma, Tuba City; Danielle Powless, Tuba City; Molina Redhorse, Cow Springs, Arizona; Nahida Smith, Navajo Mountain, Utah; Michaela White, Tuba City; Ahayana Windyboy, Tuba City; and Crystal Yazzie, Tuba City.

The program required candidates to be 18-years-old or older; have a high school diploma or GED; submit of a 500 word essay titled, “Why I want to be a CPT training program participant;” candidates must also consent to a criminal background check, drug and alcohol testing, and submit immunization documentation as required by corporation policy.

Molina Redhorse, a participant, is thankful for the program and appreciates that it is local and she can attend her classes after her regular workday.

“The program is no expense out of our own pockets. That is one thing that attracted me to it—it’s free,” she said. “The only thing is we have to commit to is time to the corporation when we are done.”

Redhorse explained she has always had an interest in the pharmacy field.

“It’s a program geared toward my interest,” she added. “I like that it involves a lot of knowledge toward medication and healing people.”

She said it is a great program for the community and for the people.

“Everything is so spread out and rural here. Getting an education off the reservation takes a lot of time and money,” she said. “With this program, we are local, we get an education locally, we learn from actual professionals in the pharmacy, we gain their knowledge, and they provide us a step toward success.”

Redhorse said she also likes the ability to work a full-time job at the corporation during the day and be able to attend the class in the evenings four days a week. This structure helps her with time management since she commutes daily from Cow Springs, a 40 minute drive northeast of Tuba City.

“They work with our work schedule, which is great,” she said. “That’s a win-win for me.”

“I am very thankful for this program,” she added.

Derek Davis, another participant in the training program, agrees that the training is convenient and he especially likes the idea of not having to go to an expensive college or university to get the education.

“I was a volunteer when I was in high school at a hospital in Fort Defiance,” he said. “I like to help people get their medication. Pharmacist and pharmacy technicians have an important role in making sure people are healthy by receiving appropriate medications and the right amount.”

Davis plans to gain his experience as a pharmacy technician and eventually go to pharmacy school in the future. He appreciates the program.

“We’re the first group to undergo this journey, so I feel honored,” he said.

For Nahida Smith, she just wants to get a start in the medical field because she wants to start somewhere and work her way up.

“I decided to do the pharmacy technician program just to get an insight and to see what it’s like,” she said. “The program is very informative and it’s intense with calculations, formulas and knowledge. I like that it is very complex and very educational, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to participate and to learn something new.”

Garcia explained the first cohort proved to be a success and the program plans to start another cohort beginning May 11.

The pharmacy serves as an integral part of a comprehensive community-based health care delivery system. Services are patient-centered and directed toward optimal patient care outcomes, health promotion and disease prevention.

For more information about the program, call 928-283-2589.


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