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For 23 years, Jennifer Harshman has worked as a pharmacy technician. Throughout Harshman's career, her family has always come first and she wouldn't have it any other way.
By Trudy Odenwald, Marketing Associate, IU Health Indianapolis Suburban Region, todenwald@IUHealth.org
Before working as an inpatient pharmacy technician at IU Health North Hospital, Jennifer Harshman worked as a nurse. As her family was growing, Harshman made the decision to leave nursing and stay home with her four children. As her children grew older, she knew she wanted to get back into the medical field, but not as a nurse. For 23 years, Harshman has worked as a pharmacy tech. She spent 20 years working in retail pharmacy at a local supermarket and has been with IU Health North for the last three years.
One of the differences between working in retail pharmacy and inpatient pharmacy is the interaction with customers and patients. As an inpatient pharmacy tech, Harshman interacts mostly with doctors and nurses instead of actual patients. While she misses interacting with customers, Harshman loves that each day she comes to work at IU Health North she’s doing something different. From making IVs to working in the operating room pharmacy, delivering medicine and doing patient medical histories, Harshman enjoys the variety.
“I didn’t think I would enjoy anything other than retail pharmacy,” Harshman said. “I was nervous that I was going to miss that interaction with customers that I had for 20 years. So, when I came to IU Health North, I was scared that I wasn’t going to like it, but I ended up loving it. I love the variety and I love my team members.”
With her love of pharmacy, Harshman wishes that timing would have been better at some point for her to go to pharmacy school.
“I really would have loved to go to pharmacy school, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice all the things I would have missed with my kids when they were younger,” Harshman said. “Then when they got older, all four of them were in college at the same time and it didn’t make sense for mom to be in college too.”
While pharmacy school wasn’t in the cards, Harshman doesn’t regret a single decision she’s made because it’s led her to where she is now. Where she says is exactly where she needs to be.