October 15, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC - The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has named Hortense Jones, CPhT, of Durham, NC, the 2015 PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) of the Year©. Ms. Jones is the Pharmacy Technician Supervisor at the Lincoln Community Health Center (LCHC) in Durham, a primary care facility providing accessible outpatient health services to the medically underserved. In this role, she is an employee of Duke Regional Hospital, a part of the Duke University Health System. Ms. Jones supervises a team of 11 pharmacy technicians in the LCHC pharmacy, which processes more than 1,000 prescriptions daily for nearly 30,000 patients, and provides inventory support for eight satellite clinics in Durham County.
PTCB's CPhT of the Year Program honors and recognizes individual achievement in patient safety, innovation, and leadership as a way to encourage excellence among pharmacy technicians. "PTCB is pleased to honor Hortense Jones, who demonstrates compassion for patients, persistence in advancing patient safety, and leadership to fully engage her technician team in continuous improvement,” said Everett B. McAllister, MPA, RPh, Executive Director and CEO of PTCB. Ms. Jones will be honored on October 27 at a special event in Alexandria, Va., to celebrate the 20th anniversary of PTCB’s founding. Ms. Jones has been working as a pharmacy technician for 44 years, and has been PTCB certified for PTCB’s entire 20-year history.
“Everything we do at LCHC Pharmacy we do as a team to ensure we provide our patients with safe, accessible, high quality care,” said Ms. Jones. “I am truly humbled by this honor, but this is about our pharmacy team more than me. My leadership philosophy is to find the strengths of each employee and build an essential role for them on the team that matches their assets,” said Ms. Jones. “As a result, they become fully engaged in advancing patient safety.” Ms. Jones and the technician team conducted a pharmacy redesign which won top awards at the annual Duke Medicine Patient Safety and Quality Conference.
Ms. Jones has empowered her team to integrate new pharmacy practices into care for LCHC’s high-risk patient population; 55% of patients are uninsured, 28% are in Medicaid, 59% are living at or below the federal poverty level, and 41% are non-English speaking. She coordinates medication access for patients in Project Access of Durham County, a nonprofit organization that links low-income residents to medications and donated specialty care via a network of 750 community and hospital specialists. Ms. Jones created a ‘Walk In My Shoes’ study whereby technicians and pharmacists experienced the LCHC pharmacy from a patient’s perspective, which led to new cultural competence training for staff and improved patient communications.
Ms. Jones was a charter member of the LCHC team participating in the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-sponsored Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative to improve patient safety in high risk populations. Changes made by the LCHC team included adding new medication reconciliation guidelines, a designated single point of accountability, nontraditional roles for staff, enhanced data, new rotations, and centralized medication access. These changes led to the LCHC Pharmacy earning national recognition from HRSA for best practice in patient safety.
“Hortense is amazing. She grows and changes with the complexity of health care,” said Pharmacy Director Carolyn Robbins. “She has a remarkable ability to build and engage her team. She embraces new practices, new processing systems, and critical roles for technicians in health care.” According to Dr. Robbins, Ms. Jones’ effective team-building skills are a primary reason the pharmacy’s work culture excellence has been recognized as top tier for 7 years by Duke University Health System.
Ms. Jones is a long standing member of the Advisory Board for the Pharmacy Technology Program at Durham Technical Community College (DTCC). She actively contributed to accreditation of the program by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the recent addition of the pharmacy technology associate degree program. Ms. Jones is clinical coordinator of DTCC’s highly rated experiential training at LCHC.
“CPhTs can advance their careers by continually engaging in knowledge. They need to get involved, serve on boards, and learn about legislation and programs that have an impact on patients,” said Ms. Jones. “They need to be persistent too. If they think something can be done to assist a patient, they need to speak up, and work with their team to get it done.”
More than 580 CPhTs were nominated for the 2015 CPhT of the Year from all pharmacy settings. PTCB selected finalists and invited the public to vote online for the honoree. The other finalists included CPhTs Ashley Ackerman, HM3 Gregory Gonzales, Rachel Quinlan, Laura Skudera, Petrina Swope, and Andrew Vachon.