Tech Trek Navigator: Autumn Hawks, CPhT-Adv

Autumn Hawks is a pharmacy technician specialist working in medication policy outcomes and stewardship for a health system. She is also on the Utah Board of Pharmacy. She earned her CPhT-Adv to position herself for any opportunity that comes her way, as well as to help her mentor other pharmacy technicians. Her advice to pharmacy technicians interested in career advancement: “Get involved. Make yourself heard.”

How did you become a pharmacy technician?

My mom was a pharmacist. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know what a pharmacy technician did. Like so many people, I assumed we counted pills and that’s all, so imagine when the whole world opened up to me after becoming a pharmacy technician. I started at a big chain pharmacy, got my license, moved on to a hospital, and never looked back. Two of my siblings also became pharmacy technicians. My mom encouraged all of us. 

How did you join the Utah Board of Pharmacy?

I joined a few years ago. I was at a large trauma hospital at the time. My pharmacy director asked if I was interested and I said of course. They submitted my credentials. I never thought I’d be selected. There are so many talented technicians at my organization and others. It was an incredible honor. We are this huge resource and advocate for the profession and it’s exciting to learn about it and be a part of it. 

What are your career goals?

I have an incredible job right now. I work in medication policy outcomes and stewardship under the pharmacy education and research team for my health system. Right now my job changes almost monthly, depending on what the department needs, and I’m riding the wave. I want to be ready for any opportunity that comes up. My goals are to collect as many skills in as many areas as I can, so I am ready to go for any of the many possibilities that could come down the pipeline. Things change so quickly—I want to be positioned for the exciting new opportunities that come up.

What inspired you to earn your CPhT-Adv?

I want to have the knowledge base, skills, and accolades to position myself for where I need to be. Also, I serve as the chair of a pharmacy technician committee that oversees a large integrated health system. I work with pharmacy technicians in many different fields and we encourage them to advance as far as they want to go. The certificates are a good way for them to commit to their practice, and show they are ambitious, engaged, and wanting to move forward. And by earning the certificates myself, I hope to encourage others and help them navigate the process. Being a mentor for those seeking to advance in their careers has been helpful.

What advice do you have for pharmacy technicians?

Get involved. In my state, Utah, all of our Board of Pharmacy meetings are public and all are welcomed. Make yourself heard, Your perspective is beneficial to everyone. Get involved at your local site. Join a committee or create one. Join a local state chapter of an organization. You’ll gain a great perspective and build an incredible network of people—you may hear this is what we are doing at our workplace, and you can take that back to yours. There are so many great ideas out there—you need to find the people who have them.

Who is most influential in your career?

The first person was Carmen Gust. She was a technician I worked with at a large trauma hospital. I had recently joined their team as a Billing and Database Technician, and never dreamed of a leadership position until she encouraged and inspired me. Ever since taking that first step, it’s just been a whirlwind. Also my supervisor, Dr. Elizabeth Sebranek-Evans, who is so kind and encouraging. She listens to my ideas and always supports me, not just as an employee or health professional, but as someone with a life and a family and goals that extend beyond my career. I am so grateful to her, and really to the many incredible pharmacists and technicians I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve been very lucky.



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