Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Brian Brown, PharmD — 10/16/2020

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Brian Brown, PharmD — 10/16/2020
Welcome to the 2020 edition of Profiles in Pharmacy.

Dr. Brian Brown, PharmD is a practicing CVICU/Cardiac Transplant Pharmacist at John Hopkins ALL Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. I met Brian in 2012 while he was completing his PGY1 residency at Children’s of Alabama.

In the fall of 2012 we became co-workers. I only had the opportunity to work with Brian for 1 year, but in that year I learned a great deal from him. I gravitated to Brian’s passion for the practice of pharmacy, his thoroughness in completing tasks, and his ability to consistently give 100 percent of his energy to serve others through the practice of pharmacy.

We became good friends in the years that we spent together at Children’s. Professionally, it’s been great to bounce ideas off of a pharmacy savant. Personally, it’s been great to know Brian because he’s a good person. I’m thankful for Brian and count him as a friend. He is a good man, smart, a hard worker, loyal, thoughtful, and compassionate.

I’m thankful Brian has taken the time to be apart of “Profiles in Pharmacy“; he has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share to our readers today.

1)    When did you realize that you wanted to be a Pharmacist?

I decided that I wanted to become a pharmacist at the end of my freshman year of college.  I knew I wanted to go into the medical field and was in the pre-med track.  Throughout my freshman year I had several different people tell me how they thought I would be a great pharmacist so I decided to apply for a job at a pharmacy and give it a try.  After a few months of working in the pharmacy environment I changed from the pre-med to the pre-pharmacy track.

2)    When you were in pharmacy school, did you always know you would be a clinical pharmacist working in a Hospital Setting?

No, I did not.  My experience on entering pharmacy school only consisted of retail and that was where I was heading in my mind.  It wasn’t until my fourth year of pharmacy school when I was on a neurology rotation with my preceptor Jody Rocker, that I really started considering the clinical track.  I finally decided to pursue a residency and become a clinical pharmacist a few rotations later when I was completing a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit rotation with the amazing Kelley Norris.

3)    How are you able to maintain your composure during Codes (cardiac arrest)? What advice would you give students desiring to work in a critical care environment do to prepare themselves for your rotation? What would you tell new pharmacists about what to do to be better in Code situations?

Maintaining your composure can be difficult but it is essential in code situations.  It is important to know that you are there for a job of preparing and getting medications to the patient in a quick and accurate manner, and that you are the best person there for that job.  Be sure to stay focused on the why you are there.  I also do not like clutter, so keeping a clean work station helps me out a lot, since I am able to locate my medications and supplies easily.  Additionally, repetition and practice help with composure in code situations.  Continue to practice your skills and keep them tuned up by attending simulation events and going to debriefings after an actual event to discuss with others areas for improvement.

I really don’t expect much at the beginning of my rotations in terms of preparation beforehand.  Working in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, it is a very special niche of multiple specialties rolled into one.  Pediatrics, much less pediatric cardiac, is not common to see taught in schools of pharmacy, so I plan to start everyone at the beginning of the rotation at square one and then grow from there.  As future pharmacists though, I do expect the students to be up on their mechanisms of actions and adverse effects of the medications that they are seeing and recommending.

For new pharmacists, I would say to take a deep breath and relax as much as possible.  Maintaining your composure and trying to get rid of the nerves will help you out a lot.  Practice, practice, practice!  Attend simulations and go to debriefings after events occur and listen to all the feedback that is given.  Be sure to learn your algorithms so that you can try to predict what medications will be needed next.  That way, you can stay a few steps ahead.  Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask for help from others.  Call another pharmacist or grab a nurse to help pull medications up.  You are not there alone.

4)    Who are the Pharmacists that have influenced you the most and why?

There are two pharmacists who immediately come to mind.  The first is Kelley Norris, who was my PICU preceptor as a student.  Kelley’s rotation is where many of my pharmacy career decisions were solidified.  I decided on her rotation to pursue residency, to go into pediatrics, and to also critical care.  I learned so much on her rotation from clinical thinking skills, to interacting with providers, to continually pushing myself to learn every single day.  I have definitely seen myself modeling my own rotations after Kelley’s model.

The second is Brenda Gorman.  I met Brenda during my PGY1 residency year and she became my unofficial mentor. Brenda was always patient with me and pushed me more than I ever thought possible.  I also learned a lot about the inner workings and politics of pharmacy and about becoming a mentor myself.  I am grateful to still call Brenda a close friend and a highly respected colleague.

5)    What would you like the readers to know about you, and your practice?

I have been very fortunate to have had multiple amazing experiences at an early age, and I contribute that to seeing multiple places and getting to know as many people in the profession as I can.  If you are able to complete your residency programs in different states, then take that opportunity.  See as many ways, as many formularies, and many computer systems as possible as it will widen your knowledge and make you more marketable.  As for my practice, I primarily split my time taking care of patients in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit and a congenital diaphragmatic hernia unit.  I also float to the PICU, NICU, and ER.  Working in pediatrics is an exciting and challenging experience since there is not much literature to help guide your decisions at times; and every medication/dose that you recommend is calculated specifically for that individual patient.

6)    Where do you see pharmacy residencies in the coming years? Personally, I would have never imagined the expansion of residencies that has taken place over the past 10 years. Do you think the federal government will get involved and subsidize residencies, much like what has occurred with Graduate Medical Education?

Pharmacy residencies have definitely taken off over the past several years and it has been difficult to keep up with the supply of residency programs over the growing demand.  Another thing, which is excellent for the profession, is the expansion of roles and responsibilities that pharmacists are allowed to complete, which is why it is important to advocate to your state and federal government to continue to advance the profession.  I believe that as pharmacist responsibilities continue to grow, residency program will become even more essential to train new pharmacist to perform these tasks successfully.  Another item that has been bounced around some, and I do think we are still a little way away from, will be to addition of the PGY3 residency program.  PGY1 pharmacy residency programs are able to receive program reimbursement through CMS, however, there have been a lot of issues where CMS has threatened to remove this funding due to arbitrary audit requirements.  This is why it is important for pharmacists to stay involved in organizations and reach out to members of congress to continue to support and advocate for the profession.  Hopefully we will see an increase of support and funding for residency programs in the future.

7)    What’s your pet peeve in the pharmacy?

Hmmm, there are actually several for me.  But one of my biggest ones will be procrastination in regards to verifying or getting medications to the floors for the patients.  I always try to remind everyone that there is a patient sitting at the other end of what we are doing.

8)    Thanks for your time, what words of advice would you like to impart on student pharmacists across the country?

For the students across the country I would definitely start by saying keep an open mind and get as much of a wide range of experiences as possible.  Try to book a challenging fourth year to keep you learning and seeing different aspects of the pharmacy world.  Unfortunately, some rotations may still fall flat, and if so, pick one medication a day and look up its mechanism of action and common adverse effects.  Keep pushing yourself in those situations.  I would also strongly recommend finding a preceptor, work colleague, professor, someone to become your mentor.  Having a knowledgeable mentor can make a world of difference in your growth as a pharmacist.  And finally, don’t get hung up on setbacks.  Those situations can lead us in a new and better direction, and we are able to have experiences we never would have thought about otherwise because of those setbacks.

Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn

Lawson State Non Credit Pharmacy Technician Program Fall 2020

Lawson State Non Credit Pharmacy Technician Program Fall 2020

To enroll into the course do the following steps:

2. Click on Courses
3. Click Lawson State non-credit Pharmacy Technician Course
4. Click Free
5. Register by creating a username, entering email, and creating a password
Video for how to enroll in the course:
Wednesday September 23, 2020
* We discussed how to enroll
*Youtube Videos will be posted so that content can be explained in greater detail, and some class sessions will go Youtube Live so that questions can be asked prior to examinations
*We talked about ourselves, and job history
*Please go to main homepage for updates regarding lectures
*Quiz 1 is due September 25, 2020 (Quiz 1 — Non Credit Pharmacy Technician Course)
*Thursday September 24, 2020 we will discuss Who the Pharmacy Technician is.. roles, responsibilities, salary, etc.
Thursday September 24, 2020
*We discussed “Who is the Pharmacy Technician”
*Customer service for techs, what they can and can’t do in the pharmacy, laws regarding suspension of license if pharmacy law is broken
*CE’s per year = 3 with one of the three being a live ce
*Median salary = $33,950 per year in 2019
*website to go to view state law in Alabama and to register =
*Quiz 2 is due October 1, 2020  Quiz 2 — Who is the Pharmacy Technician
*Friday Setpember 25, 2020 Tony will lead the discussion on types of pharmacies
Friday September 25, 2020
*We discussed Types of Pharmacies
*Please continue to work towards completion of Quiz 2 which is due October 1, 2020.
Leading up to our discussion next Thursday, please begin reviewing the section pertaining to Pharmacy Law of  Who is the Pharmacy Technician?
Thursday October 1, 2020

Quiz 3 Due October 7th — use your textbooks, internet, etc.. to complete

  1. DEA = Drug Enforcement Agency
  2. A pharmacy tech can only be present in a pharmacy prescription department when the pharmacist is present.
  3. Schedule 2, 3, 4, and 5 are controlled substances
  4. Schedule 1 drugs have no medicinal value, and examples include street drugs like heroin, crack cocaine, and LSD.
  5. Examples of Schedule 2 drugs include: Ritalin, Oxycodone, Morphine, Fentanyl
  6. Annual inventories must be taken by Jan 15 of each year
  7. You can transfer a schedule III-V once to an outside pharmacy. Schedule II drugs can not be transferred
  8. Prescribers can issue multiple rx’s for a schedule II up to a 90 day supply
  9. 3.6 grams of sudafed per day 7.5 grams per month
  10. USP 795, 797, 800 — — remember USP 795 covers non-sterile compounding, 797 covers sterile compounding, and USP 800 covers hazardous compounding
October 1, 2020 we reviewed the following:
  1. Review of State Law
  2. Quiz 2
  3. HIPAA  — please complete the video
  4. CMEA — please complete the video
  5. October 2, 2020 Janiece will be your teacher. We will continue our discussion on Terminology and begin reviewing the TOP 200. Use the practice quizzes under the Terminology section to begin memorizing drug names (brand name versus generic name).
  6. Read Chapter 3
  7. Take the cliff notes approach and skim over Chapters 5, 6, and 7 — we will be covering these chapters in depth for the rest of our time together.


Friday October, 2, 2020

Instructor on this day: Janiece

  • Speak to the women about your personal experience being a pharmacy technician
  • How to become a certified pharmacy technician (questions and answers)
  • Then shift into the lecture — go to heading “Terminology” and inform the women to begin reviewing the Top 200 from their e-books and use the practice quizzes as opportunities to study the top 200. Inform them that they can learn from taking the quizzes because each question has pieces of what the drug does in the body and/or why it’s being used.
  • Then shift to the heading “Calculations” — begin going over days supply with the students
  • Lastly shift over to the heading “Roman and arabic numerals” and let the students watch the videos on roman numerals and how to add and subtract.
  • Go over when you will see Roman numerals in the pharmacy setting (bottles, prescriptions, etc. )
Wednesday October 7, 2020
Instructor on this day: Tony
The following topics will be reviewed:
  1. Federal Law
  2. New Drug Approval
  3. Naming of Drugs
  • Then ask the girls if they’re having any questions or concerns.
  • Tell them that I will post quiz 4 and quiz 5  and quiz 6 to the website tomorrow before their lecture.
  • Students please continue to review Top 200 drugs which Janiece covered last week
  • Janiece will continue to cover Pharmacy Calculations Friday


Thursday October 8, 2020

Instructor: Sam

Review of all topics covered over the past few weeks

Discussion of whats understood versus whats not..

Posting: Quiz 4, 5, 6 which is due October 15, 2020 

Email sent post lecture: 


You receive a prescription from Sally Blakemore, CRNP

Her DEA number is as follows:


What is the check digit?

  • Add together the first, third and fifth digits call this CALC1,3,5

  • Add together the second, fourth and sixth digits and multiply the sum by 2, call this CALC2,4,6

  • Add CALC1,3,5 + CALC2,4,6 call this CHECK

  • The rightmost digit of CHECK (the digit in the ones place) is used as the check digit in the DEA number

1+3+5 = 9

2+4+6 = 12 * 2 = 24

9+24 = 33

  • Remember M denotes mid level practitioners. A mid level prescriber falls under the direct supervision of a Physician
  • In the state of Alabama does a Chiropractor have prescribing rights?
  • Keep reviewing the top 200 drugs from your book and understanding categories of the drugs along with brand vs generic names
  • Review the link below, it is a picture of a bottle of Hydrocodone/APAP
You will see a large C on the bottle followed by roman numerals II
It denotes schedule II narcotic. When you go to a pharmacy you will be able to see what schedule the drug falls in based on the packaging.


Friday October 9, 2020

Instructor: Janiece

Review of Pharmacy Math/ Days Supply/ Terminology/ General Conversation 


October 15 2020
Elements of the Prescription
Prescription Label — State of Alabama
Prescription Processing
Quizzes are due: Quiz 4, 5, 6 which is due October 15, 2020 

Please review the lecture notes and continue to work on finishing them. 

Janiece will continue to push forward on pharmacy math tomorrow and will discuss more of your questions and concerns.
Keep studying! The class is almost done.
  • Complete elements of the prescription (pg 208 in text)

  • Auxiliary labels (pg 217 of text)

  • Prescription label (pg 216 of text)

  • Insurance Cards (pg 527 of text)

  • Prescription processing– workflow video (

  • Drop off of the prescription —> Order Entry (demographic info/prescription information) → Fill Rx → Pharmacist Verifies Rx → Pickup of Rx → Counseling

  • Brand/generic names — please work on them

  • Package inserts — please google them if you don’t know what a drug is or how it acts in the body, this is how you will learn medications. Learn by focusing on what the drug does in the body to counteract the disease state

  • Days supply/ Your final exam will have lots of days supply on it. Please continue to work hard towards understanding days supply

  • Conversions

  • Quiz 9 and 10 will be posted later this week and due October 29


  • Lantus 100 units/ml

Dispense 3 ml

How many units of insulin will be dispensed? 100 units/ml * 3ml = 300 units

What is the generic name of Lantus? Insulin glargine

What do the following directions mean: INJ 10 units QHS ( inject 10 units at bedtime )

What is the days supply? 30 days

Most injectable vials expire between 21-28 days (insulin vials typically 28 days)

Counseling point for patients would be once you begin injecting with the pen or drawing up a dose with the vial, to discard the vial 28 days after use.


  • Proair 90mcg/actuation

What is the generic name? Albuterol Sulfate

What do the following directions mean: 4 puffs Q4H PRN SOB, wheeze, cough (4 puffs every 4 hours as needed for shortness of breath, wheeze, cough)

If there are 24 hours in a day, how many times during the day can you use this inhaler: 6 times

If there are 200 puffs in 1 inhaler, what is the days supply? 24 puffs/day

200 puffs/inhaler /24 puffs = 8.333 days = 8 days

What disease state is ProAir used for? Asthma


  • Keflex 250mg/5ml

Generic Name: Cephalexin

What is the concentration? Weight/Volume or Volume/Volume

250mg/5ml reduce the fraction 50mg/ml

The directions read as follow, what do they mean? Give 1 tsp PO QID for 10 days

1 teaspoon by mouth four times a day for 10 days

How many ml’s will the pharmacist dispense? 5ml/dose * 4 doses = 20ml/day * 10 days = 200ml

When does the antibiotic expire? 10-14 days ( 14 days for this example)

What auxiliary labels should we place on the bottle? Shake well and refrigerate

What is reconstitution?

Pain Medication

  • Tylenol 500mg

Directions state the following: 1 tab po q6h prn pain

Dispense: 60 tablets, what is the days supply?

What is the generic name of Tylenol?


  • Lovenox 300mg/3ml

Directions state the following: Inject 0.3 ml SUBQ BID

What does SUBQ mean? Subcutaneous

How many ml’s are injected per day? 0.6 ml

If each vial is 3ml how many vials should be dispensed for a 1 month supply (30 days)?

What is the generic name of Lovenox?

What is it used for?

Conversions & Problems

  1. Convert 220 lbs to kg ____________

  1. 1 tablespoon (tbsp) to teaspoon (tsp) _________________

  1. 2000 milliliters (ml’s) to liters __________________

  1. XII ounces to ml’s ______12* 30 = 360ml _______________

  1. IV ounces to ml’s _____4 * 30 = 120ml ________________

  1. 5 grams to milligrams (mg’s) ________________________

  1. 30ml’s to tablespoons ________________________

  1. The Doctor writes a prescription for Clindamycin 300mg directions: 600mg TID for 10 days. How many capsules should be dispensed? ___2 capsules * 3 times per day = 6 capsules per day * 10 days = 60 capsules_________________

  1. The Nurse Practitioner writes a prescription for Amoxicillin 500mg directions: 2 grams PO 1 hour prior to dental procedure. How many capsules should be dispensed? _____2000mg/500mg per capsule = 4 capsules ______________

  1.  The Physician Assistant writes a prescription for Cefdinir 125mg/5ml directions: 125mg BID for 10 days. How many ml’s should be dispensed? _________________

October 16 2020
Error Prevention strategies for processing prescriptions
Requirements of a legal prescription
October 21 2020 

Medication Safety

High Alert Medications
Leading and Trailing Zeros
October 22 2020 
NDC or bar code safety checks
Quiz 7 due — covers federal law, new drug approval naming of drugs
Quiz 8 due — fraud/waste/abuse —
community pharmacy module
October 23 2020
No class — Free Day catch up on work
October 29 2020
Drug Recalls
Pharmacy Technician Lab
Quiz 9 & 10 on terminology/brand and generics 
Lecture Notes on this date:
It appears we ended early today with technical difficulties.
  • Please continue to review Drug Recalls, Reconstitution, and Compounding.
  • Janiece will finish up the discussion tomorrow on our example.. Compounding Baclofen 5mg/ml.
  • Remember the final exam is due November 5th. If you have any questions or concerns leading to the completion of this exam let us know immediately. In order to pass the class, you must complete all 10 quizzes and the final exam.
  1. Drug Recalls
  2. Pharmacy Technician Lab
  3. Discuss Final Exam

Review Prescription Benefit Card — 

Review Prescription Workflow —

Reconstitution of oral suspension — 

Reconstitution of IV medication — 

Compounding a suspension from tablets —

  •  Describe the four pieces of information found on a prescription benefit card.

  • Describe prescription workflow.

  • Describe reconstitution of an oral suspension

  • Describe reconstitution of an IV medication

  • Compounding exercise – you receive the following prescription

Baclofen 5mg/ml qs 180mL 

Take 3 ml via GTube BID 

On your shelf you have Baclofen 10mg tablets and OraBlend Suspending Agent

Trituration —

Levigation – wet the triturated powder with suspending agent and incorporate using mortar and pestle

How many 10mg tablets do you need to make 180 mL? Describe the steps needed to compound this medication.

October 30 2020 
Review for final exam
November 5 2020 
Final Exam due
and will be graded
class does not meet
**Sam & Tony** 
November 6 2020
Last Session
Discuss Externship


Lawson State non-credit Pharmacy Technician Program

Lawson State non-credit Pharmacy Technician Program

In 2020 the Alabama Board of Pharmacy required that pharmacy technicians registering with the board take a board approved program or pass a board recognized pharmacy technician certification examination within 6 months of registration.

Please review: 680-X-2-.14 — The Role of Technicians in Pharmacies in Alabama

Lawson State Community College now offers a non credit board approved program.

Key Facts about this program are as follows:

The program is 16 weeks in length

  • 4 weeks of Ready to Work training on soft skills, interviewing (student receives a certificate of completion for this portion)


  •  8 weeks of instruction on the role of Pharmacy Technicians in the State of Alabama


  • 4 weeks of pharmacy externship

The first session in 2020 will begin in June at the Bessemer Campus of Lawson State.

For more information regarding price please contact Lawson State at the following email


Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Taylor Trammell, PharmD — 10/09/2019

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Taylor Trammell, PharmD — 10/09/2019
Welcome to the 2019 edition of Profiles in Pharmacy.

Today, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Taylor Trammell, PharmD a few questions.
Taylor is a 2011 graduate of Samford’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy.
Since obtaining his PharmD, he has worked in both Specialty Pharmacy and Community Pharmacy.
In 2017 he opened an independent pharmacy. Taylor is the co-owner and Pharmacist in Charge of Crestwood Pharmacy & Soda Fountain.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit and experience his Pharmacy’s vibe and atmosphere; and I very much enjoyed interacting with his staff, eating ice cream, and people watching with my daughters.

Crestwood Pharmacy and Soda Fountain is a great small business in Birmingham, AL. And the patrons of this independently owned pharmacy receive quality pharmaceutical service and care.


Sam: When did you realize that you wanted to be a Pharmacist?
Taylor: Neither of my parents were able to go to college, so they encouraged my sisters and I to attend college.
I had a variety of interests in math and science but narrowed it down to healthcare because I am compassionate and wanted to help people in my daily job.
I had a couple of interests within healthcare and got a job at a chain pharmacy in high school. I loved the patient interaction and stuck with that chain all through undergrad, pharmacy school, and even a short time as a pharmacist. 

Sam: When you were in pharmacy school, did you consider pharmacy ownership to be an option?
Taylor: I always dreamt of owning my own place eventually, but did not pursue that in school. I just worked at the chain and got through school.
I never worked in an independent community pharmacy but had an idea of what I wanted to create.
I was intrigued in the old-school way that had all but disappeared. After working for several independently owned compounding pharmacies, I decided to take a chance and do it my way. 


Sam: Who are the Pharmacists that have influenced you the most and why?

Taylor: Cynthia Doggett hired me when I was 17 at the chain. I was an idiot and acted like a teenager but she stuck with me and taught me a lot. She showed me what it meant to be a professional, and how important it is to be detail oriented, and how to build meaningful relationships with our patients. I have worked with her off and on since 2003.

Kelley Millwood is another. She was just a year ahead of me in school and we knew each other then… but we worked together at a compounding pharmacy and she had prior experience and taught me a lot about compounding. 
Kay Guess. I had a rotation with Kay in a specialty pharmacy in my last year of pharmacy school. She took me under her wing and taught me the world of specialty pharmacy, which eventually led to a job in that area of pharmacy. She and I both, have since left the specialty pharmacy world, but I am thankful for her teaching me so much during that season. I have a better understanding of specialty pharmacy now and can guide my patients in our community to the pharmacy they need if we can’t serve them in those certain situations.
All of the pharmacists I mentioned; they all have a really strong work ethic and don’t quit until the work is done. 

Sam: What would you like the readers to know about you, your pharmacy, and the services you are currently providing to the community?

Taylor: We are a full service community pharmacy. We offer traditional retail prescription services along with non-sterile compounding, immunizations, and free delivery.  We have a good selection of otc products and some natural and local products as well. In addition to the medical side, we are also doing our twist on the old school Soda Fountain.
We have ice cream and old fashioned soda and hope to add food eventually. 
As far as the community piece goes; my wife, son, and I live in Crestwood South — which is about half a mile from the pharmacy.
We hope to be here for a long time.


Sam: What would you tell students currently in pharmacy school? What services do you foresee these students offering in the years to come? 
Taylor: Find an area of pharmacy that you love. There are many options for types of work as a pharmacist and it was hard work and costs a lot of money to become a pharmacist, so do something you love.
I love seeing the profession grow and seeing the different types of jobs that pharmacists have. I am Excited to watch the provider status topic and even some prescriptive authority perhaps.

Sam: Freestyle question… Tell us the readers what you want us to know.
Taylor: I love camping, mountain biking, hiking, music, food, coffee. I would love for everyone to come to the pharmacy and get to know us. Come have a cup of coffee or milkshake!
Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn


Student National Pharmaceutical Association — Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy 9/27/2019

PDF of Speech: Pharmacy Rotations, Patient Access, and Peds Rx


Pictures: coming soon…

Many thanks to the Samford Chapter of SNPhA for the invitation to speak.

Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn.




September/October 2019 Pharmacy Tech Lessons — Lawson State Community College Bessemer Campus

September/October 2019 Pharmacy Tech Lessons — Lawson State Community College Bessemer Campus

Classroom Content for this course is as follows:

September_October 2019 Course Syllabus and Calendar

Sept Oct 2019 Lessons for Pharmacy Techs

Training materials prior to externship: 


Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

OIG Exclusion

Externship Content for this course is as follows:

Externship 2019


September 10 2019 Lecture on Lesson 1 —

September 18 2019 Review of Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 4 in preparation for Exam 1 —

Part 1 of September 18 2019 session 

Part 2 of September 18 2019

September 24 2019

October 2 2019 

prepare for exam: 25 questions, multiple choice


Exam 1

Exam 2

Additional Links:  

Lab PDF: Lab PDF Session for 2019 Students


Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn.








Pharmacy Technician Lessons 2019

The course will be completed using your standard textbooks and my lesson manual.

I will upload my personal lecture audio under this post throughout our 8 weeks together.

The lesson manual includes content covering 8 lessons, quizzes, previous final exams, and information pertaining to how to conduct yourself on externship. Please use this manual as your guide to complete this course. It will take both in class and out of class studying to complete each of the 8 lessons. Each lesson should take you at least 4 hours to cover.

Please refer back to the lessons as needed.

I will not print lessons, it is up to you to follow the material accordingly. The links are below.


Lawson State Community College

1100 Ninth Ave SW

Bessemer, AL 35022

Classroom to be used: Ethel Hall Building – Room 201

Time:  9:00am – 10:30am

PDF’s for download:

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 2.55.39 PM

Lessons for the Pharmacy Technician 2019

Course Syllabus May-June 2019 Lawson Pharmacy Technician



May 1, 2019 Lecture on Lesson 1 :

Part 1:

Part 2:

May 7, 2019 Lecture on Lesson 2: 

Part 1:

Part 2:

May 14, 2019 Quiz 1: 

Quiz 1 will be given on May 14, 2019. You will have 45 minutes to complete the quiz (9am – 945am). There will be a brief break and then a review of the quiz by your instructor for the remainder of the class.

Quiz 2 for May 15, 2019 will be rescheduled. We will instead cover Lesson 3 and go into more depth review of the material thus far.  We will also have a lab to get hands on knowledge of the material covered.

Homework — please continue to keep studying the top 200 drugs from your text. You should now be memorizing pages 4, 5, and 6 of the top 200 from your workbook.

Quiz 1 May 2019

Quiz 1 Answers May 2019

The class average for quiz 1 was 68%.

May 15, 2019 

May 15, 2019 Audio Part 1:

May 15, 2019 Audio Part 2:

Quiz 2 will be next Wednesday May 22, 2019 over the top 200. Use previous quizzes from last year to study for Quiz 2. There will be 75 questions on quiz 2 and you will have 1 hour to complete the quiz.

To receive extra credit on quiz 2, please look over the top 200 and type up a summary on 25 drugs of your choice. For each medication — list the brand name of the drug, the generic name of the drug, the classification of the drug, and the body part the drug acts on.

For example… ProAir HFA is an inhaler and is classified as a respiratory agent, the generic name is Albuterol HFA and the body part that the drug acts on is the lungs. The drug acts in a manner to open the airways so that a person can breath normally.

If you type up 25 drugs and do it as I’ve asked you, you can receive up to 25 points extra credit on quiz 2. Remember, it must be typed!!! And you must turn this in on Tuesday May 21, 2019 to receive credit. 

Please continue to look over the externship material. Sign the final page of the agreement, informing me that you’re committed to a 40 hour externship, and please talk to DHR and/or JCCEO to inform them of your intentions to become a registered pharmacy technician — you need to be registered prior to going on externship. This costs $103.

Tuesday May 21, 2019 we reviewed Lesson 3 and began covering Lesson 4. We finished the first problem in Lesson 5. Please work on the second question in Lesson 5 and read Chapter 6.

Audio from Tuesday May 21, 2019:

Wednesday May 22, 2019 the second quiz for this session was administered.

Quiz 2 2019 and Quiz 2 2019 – Answers

After taking into account the 25 point bonus — the class average for quiz 2 was 77.8%

A review of Chapter 6 continued during this lecture post quiz. Please continue to work on Chapter 6 and review Lesson 1-Lesson 5 for class next week.

Tuesday May 28, 2019 the third quiz was administered by Janiece. All those present received a 100% on the quiz.

Wednesday May 29, 2019 we completed Lesson 7 — please continue to review Lesson 7. We reviewed Lesson 5.

Lecture Audio May 29, 2019:

For Quiz 4 prepare in this way:

  • Memorize section A conversions from Lesson 5
  • Be prepared to answer multiple choice questions that relate to prescription examples Baby Girl Roberts, Janet Jackson, and Henry Ford from Lesson 5.
  • Lastly, review the Alligation Hydrocortisone example that can be found on page 184 in your text. This example will be used for your quiz.

June 4, 2019 the quiz will be 25 questions. We will then review Quiz 4 –> proceed to  a lab on compounding –> and review Lesson 8. 

Please review your syllabus, our time together is nearing the end. 

June 4 — Quiz 4 and practical compounding lab

June 18 — Final Exam

June 19 — Review of the Final Exam administered on the 18th and Final Grades

  • Please continue to study, work diligently on your pharmacy technician registration, work on your resume’, and begin submitting applications to local pharmacies
  • If you find a job as a pharmacy technician or as a pharmacy cashier prior to externship, you will  not have to complete an externship.

50 point extra credit!!!!!!

Write two paragraphs describing each lesson that we have completed thus far. We have completed Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. 

Give 2 examples from each lesson and why each example is important in becoming a pharmacy technician.

For example in your paragraph you describe Pharmacy Technician Registration in the State of Alabama…

 In Lesson 1 we discussed how to become registered as a pharmacy technician. It is important that pharmacy technicians know that in the State of Alabama we register by using The annual fee is $103 with renewals occurring in odd years.

Remember 2 examples from each lesson, each example should be 1 paragraph in length. This must be typed. 12 point font. Times New Roman. Double spaced.

June 4 2019

June 4 2019 Audio

Quiz 4 2019

lab 2 2019

If anytime remains we will begin covering Lesson 8.

Externships will be emailed out this Friday June 8, 2019. It is your responsibility to contact the Pharmacy Managers/Lead Technicians to setup days that you can complete your 40 hours of training. You will have 3 weeks to complete training. You are exempt from externship if you have found a job in Pharmacy.

June 11 2019 — Janiece will cover Lesson 8/Discuss Externship

June 12 2019 — Practice Final Examination/Discuss Externship

Link to practice final exam — please use your books and internet to study

Session 2 — July 31, 2018 — Final Exam

The final exam will be 60 questions, you will have the full class session to complete.

Topics to cover: pharmacy workflow, prescription benefit card, math conversions, sig codes, pharmacy law, brand/genetics, and pharmacy math!

June 18 2019 — Final Exam/Questions/Discuss Externship — we need copies of your pharmacy tech registrations!

June 19 2019 — Final Grades/Review Final Exam/Questions/Discuss Externship

Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedInSupport the effort and BUY MERCH

Profiles in Pharmacy October 2018 — Celebrating American Pharmacists Month

Profiles in Pharmacy October 2018 — Celebrating American Pharmacists Month

Thank you for taking the time to review my articles in the month of October during American Pharmacist Month.

If you haven’t had the chance to review the articles please take the time to do so. Each person that I had an opportunity to speak with had an interesting journey in becoming a practicing Pharmacist.

The journey of the practicing Pharmacist will certainly change and evolve in the coming years. Topics to consider and discuss with future Profile in Pharmacy participants will include the following topics:

  1. The role of the practicing Pharmacist in Managed Care
  2. The role of the practicing Pharmacist as Physician Extenders in the management of chronic disease states
  3. The role of the practicing Pharmacist as Prescribers which has taken shape in the Veterans Health Administration 
  4. The role of the practicing Pharmacist as an Independent Pharmacy Owner

All great things to consider…. but until then, feel free to check out my previous posts with Donaye Blake, Brenda Denson, Tim Lacey, and Brad Schmidt.

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Donaye Blake, PharmD — 10/12/2018

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Brenda Denson, PharmD — 10/10/2018

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Tim Lacey, RPh — 10/03/2018

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Brad Schmidt, PharmD — 10/01/2018


Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn Support the effort and PURCHASE MERCH.


Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Donaye Blake, PharmD — 10/12/2018

Profiles in Pharmacy — a conversation with Donaye Blake, PharmD — 10/12/2018

October is American Pharmacists Month.

In this edition of Profiles in Pharmacy, I have the great opportunity to speak with Donaye Blake, PharmD.

This Profile is truly a reflection of the commonality in our life’s story that first began in a dormitory nearly 20 years ago. I met Donaye circa fall 2001 while living in Pittman Hall at Samford University.

Pittman Hall was our home away from home. A place where we would study, sleep, eat, and bond over ping-pong and television.  Some of  the men that I would meet during those days would later become our future leaders in law, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, business, and public health.

We lived our best lives in a chasm between the “Bubble” and being outside the “Gates.”  While we made jokes of our existence living in the “Bubble” by acting as though we so desperately needed to escape; we all silently understood that we loved and respected the safety of our campus. The safety, the tranquility, and the ease by which we maneuvered in this “Bubble” allowed us to grow up and learn from both our successes and our failures, our ups and our downs, our hopes and our fears.

After a long day, we would swipe our ID badges to have access to the CAF where we would eat, sit, and listen and learn from each other. We learned life lessons over those meals; we needed those lessons and that support from one another to become the men we are today. Furthermore, it was because of our days in the “Bubble” that we were able to have a real opportunity to learn from our mistakes in a safe environment.

We laughed, yelled, cried, and prayed with one another. We spent many late nights studying and fighting sleep. We broke bread together, or rather broke onion rings together at our favorite hang out The Purple Onion. And then one day we walked across a stage and shook hands with the President of the University, took pictures, and became official graduates of an institution of higher education. We came in as boys and left to begin our journey as young men. We hugged each other, said we would keep in touch, and departed from each others presence to attempt to fulfill the mission that God had given each one of us. We all worked hard to make it; working to achieve our full potential to become the men that God created… men that could successfully take care of family and self.


After Donaye graduated from college, he attended Physical Therapy school in Georgia. I thought I wouldn’t see him on campus again, except for a few football games here and there.  But sometime in the fall of 2002 during my Sophomore year of college that all changed.

Donaye entered the classroom for my General Chemistry II course with books, and I looked at him and said, “dude what are you doing in here…I thought you were doing Physical Therapy school?”

His response, “I changed my mind, I’m going to Pharmacy School.”

Little did we know — our individual journeys would continue to cross paths as we took a whirlwind adventure towards completing our goals, and reaching our final destinations as “First Generation PharmDs“. In that Chemistry class I watched Donaye meet the love of his life,  a year later I watched him enter Pharmacy School, and four years later he would graduate.


How many actively practicing Pharmacists do you know are Hip-Hop artists?  Donaye Blake, PharmD has produced 4 albums and is currently in the studio working on album number five. But it’s his album “The Sequel” that most inspired me in my own personal pursuit towards becoming a Pharmacist.  In the song entitled “Guess Who“, I felt his pride, determination, and energy on his impending accomplishment of earning a PharmD when he rapped the following words…

Haters hate the fact, that I’m so laid back, PharmD slash Rap, imma get that“. — Dab Haskal — lyrics from song “Guess Who” album, The Sequel

I would enter Pharmacy School in 2008 one year after he graduated from Pharmacy School in May 2007. Donaye, now a Retail Pharmacist with Walgreens helped me earn my first job in Pharmacy by recommending me to the Pharmacy Manager Joe Randall, PharmD. I’m thankful for that opportunity as I began to learn about my profession in a community pharmacy.

Fast forward and Donaye has been a practicing Pharmacist for 11 years. He’s worked as a Retail Community Pharmacist and he now serves in the role of a 7 on 7 off Staff Hospital Pharmacist. I’m thankful to know him because just seeing him achieve his goals, helped me to believe that I could do the same.

Lastly, but most importantly, Donaye Blake, PharmD  is a devoted husband and a wonderful father to two beautiful daughters.

Once again, I’m very thankful for Donaye taking the time to reflect and respond to this set of questions. He has never been shy about expressing his personal truths. Thus, readers, please take into consideration his perspective on the Life of a Pharmacist. He offers a diverse perspective that both Pharmacy peers and laypersons can take into consideration in understanding our diverse perspective on describing the pressures of attending Pharmacy School and the pressures of being an actively practicing Pharmacist.




Sam: When did you graduate Pharmacy School?

Donaye: 2007


Sam: Bachelors Degree?

Donaye: Exercise Science


Sam: Residency?

Donaye: No. I was ready to get paid so I could give it all to Sallie Mae


Sam: Can you tell me about your career — what jobs you’ve had — positions and titles that you’ve held — please don’t be modest 

Donaye: Because the pharmacist job market was far less saturated than today’s, I took a two and a half month break after graduation to travel, relax and study. After finally sitting for and passing the boards, I immediately started at Walgreens as a floating pharmacist between two Birmingham stores. After 3 years of floating, I accepted a 7 on 7 off overnight position which was the best decision of my professional life. After seven years of overnights and relocating my family to Tennessee, I was offered a position at a leading hospital in Nashville as a 7 on 7 off day shift staff pharmacist.


Sam: A lot of folks may not know that you’ve had an influence on me considering a career in pharmacy. I remember seeing you around campus in 2001 and watching you go through the phase of considering a career in physical therapy and then transitioning your career towards a pursuit in pharmacy. How did you realize that pharmacy was the right fit for you? 

Donaye: While in Physical Therapy School at North Georgia College, we had a guest speaker from Mercer’s pharmacy program. He was giving a lecture about loading dose and I was so absolutely intrigued that I actually immediately withdrew from the physical therapy program to return to Samford University in order to satisfy prerequisites for McWhorter School of Pharmacy.


Sam: We both graduated from the Exercise Science Sports Medicine Department when we were in undergrad. Has that undergraduate background had an effect on your practice as a Pharmacist? If so, in what ways do you incorporate that foundation of knowledge? 

Donaye: In my opinion, Samford University’s Exercise Science program is one of the most thorough programs in the country. That foundation of knowledge has been paramount in assisting in patient counseling and recommendations as patient questions aren’t always exclusively about drugs. Understanding physiology and anatomy is sometimes extremely helpful for productive patient consultations.


Sam: I know that you have a passion for music – especially hip hop music. You’ve released multiple albums under the moniker “Dab Haskal” – how have you been able to balance music with your professional life as a Pharmacist? 

Donaye: I’ve always had the belief that if people really want to do something, they’ll find time to do it. Music is my opportunity to vent about social and political frustrations, but in a creative and inspiring space. It’s as much a part of my identity as my last name. I’m currently working on a project called ‘Therapy.’ This will be album number five. 


Sam: Have you ever performed live with a band? Do you think some of your patients would suspect that you’ve released multiple Hip-Hop albums? 

Donaye: Early on, I did several live shows including a charity event at Samford University (Kickin’ It for Kidz). No. My being a hip/hop artist appears to be a foreign concept to patients and co-workers alike…until they hear a sample. I prefer the element of surprise

iTunes and Google Play links to C.O.M.A (released in 2015)

@DABHaskal on Twitter


Sam: Life as a Pharmacist can be very stressful. We live a life where there’s no room for error. How do you balance this professional life with being a family man? 

Donaye: As a young Pharmacist, I didn’t require much sleep so finding time for professional and family life was no problem. However, now that kids have entered the picture, priorities have changed. Fortunately, my 7 on 7 off schedule allows me to spend more time with the family than the average full-time pharmacist.   


Sam: What advice would you give to pharmacy students and actively practicing Pharmacists on how to maintain an appropriate work/home balance? 

Donaye: I would advise young Pharmacists to work as hard and as much as they can early to pay off all debt so later they can benefit from having such a wonderful salary. No debt provides options and less desperation during times of transition and/or professional hardships.


Sam: Based on current USA data published from black people make up 7% of  actively practicing Pharmacists. Thus, me and you are part of the 7 percent. What words of encouragement would you give young black kids looking at you thinking it would be cool to become a Pharmacist, yet uncertain if they could overcome potential life obstacles to make it?

Donaye: I would encourage young black kids to drown out negativity and believe in themselves. There’s nothing special or exceptional about that 7% of black pharmacists other than them taking interest in the pharmaceutical field and pursuing it to completion. I’m of the belief that anybody of sound mind & body can accomplish just about any endeavor with enough hard work and desire to achieve. Today, the only obstacle is mental!


Sam: Describe a day in your life as a practicing Pharmacist. What are some of the things the public doesn’t always understand you’re dealing with in making appropriate pharmaceutical care decisions? 

Donaye: In the retail setting, life as a Pharmacist (and technician) was just short of chaos. In my 11 year experience with retail, much of it was spent understaffed with impossible goals set for my team by upper management. We’d have to juggle phones ringing nonstop, high script counts and the drive thru buzzing constantly all while being short-handed and exhausted. So yes, making appropriate pharmaceutical care decisions was a daily challenge, but one that most retail pharmacists and technicians did/do flawlessly.


Sam: How must Pharmacists improve their communication with the public so that the art and science of pharmacy can be more understood?

Donaye: In the retail setting, I think pharmacists have done an excellent job at communicating with the public. I think the biggest obstacle is actually finding time to speak with patients with all the other responsibilities and handicaps hindering that most important task (interpersonal communication)    


Sam: Why has a Pharmacy Sitcom never been created? If it were created should it be in a retail pharmacy or in a hospital pharmacy? I vote retail but that may cause a bit of division in our community 😉 

Donaye: It’s interesting that you asked. A good friend approached me about a possible reality show based on my overnight pharmacy retail life. Apparently, he read one of my numerous “Midnight Madness Chronicles” on Facebook and was highly amused. The idea quickly fizzled out because I didn’t think Walgreens would allow cameras and video equipment in the pharmacy due to HIPAA regulations. I think retail pharmacy would be an ideal setting for a pharmacy sitcom.


Sam: You’ve had a passion for finance for years. I remember you talking about Dave Ramsey books and how to save and pay off debt. What would be your advice for pharmacy students and Pharmacists struggling with student loan debt? 

Donaye: I graduated with 204k in student loan debt. My advice would be to work hard early and often to chip away as soon as possible. Do not let it linger. Do not buy a house and/or car after graduation. Do not take advice from other broke pharmacy students with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. PERIOD!!!


Sam: How has becoming a father changed your practice of pharmacy?

Donaye: It hasn’t changed. I still practice the same, but my desire to “move up” in the pharmacy ranks has decreased. For me, it’s more important to be present in my kids lives early. Often times, holding an important title beyond staff PharmD equates to less time at home.


Sam: Is there anything else that you would like to add?





Sam Blakemore IMG_1742 is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn Support the effort and PURCHASE MERCH.