Pharmacy Technology instructor leaves it all on the (career) field for her students
Give Pharmacy Technology program instructor Krista Campbell a struggling student, and she will do double-duty to get that student on a positive academic and career track.
“’What is the most overwhelming thing for you?’ is the first thing I ask them,” says Krista. “Their answer might be time, medication list (memorization), math; but I’ll make sure to try to spend extra time on it,” she says of those who might otherwise struggle in silence.
Krista’s teaching style balances her passion for getting to know her students with a little tough love. “I take the time to get to know them, where they come from, their individual stories and circumstances,” she says. “It makes them more comfortable with me, and I feel I can relate the material to them much better.”
She designs lesson points to emphasize material that is most applicable to her students and relates situations that they will see in the real world of their profession. “I think of anecdotes and experiences in the pharmacy field, or life in general, that relates to them,” says Krista. “Then, it’s not such a scary or unconquerable subject.”
Krista also knows that understanding and compassion must be balanced with responsibility and expectations. “Where they come from does not allow them to make excuses for not being professional or ready for the field,” she emphasizes. “It must be a formula that works for them and for me.”
Whatever she is doing, it is having a positive impact on her Pharmacy Technology and General Education students. They recently showed their appreciation of her efforts by giving her the student-nominated Apple Award.
“Krista balances the role of supportive educator and tough love giver with her students on a daily basis,” says Shannon Koh, Krista’s supervisor. “I am continually impressed and inspired by her work ethic and passion for her students. The relationships she builds give them the confidence to work hard and reach their goals. They never want to disappoint her.”
And Krista does not want her students to disappoint themselves and miss out on a great career.
She didn’t always know she wanted to work in the medical field – or become a teacher. She just knew she wanted to touch a lot of lives. “When I was young, I saw myself in a field that could help people; I just didn’t know which field that would be,” she says.
While getting her Master’s degree in Health Care Administration, a class in medical terminology narrowed her focus to a career in Pharmacy Technology. She then went for her Pharm Tech education and credentials. After graduation, Krista spent five years working for an independent pharmacy before going to a mail-order pharmacy where she was promoted to pharmacy auditing and claims adjustment.
All of these varied aspects of the Pharmacy Technology field lit a fire in her to let others know what kinds of careers are out there for a Pharm Tech graduate. “It made me realize how many people go to tech school and do not realize how many opportunities they can work towards,” says Krista.
Her Gen Ed classes stretch her influence beyond the Pharmacy Tech program on SJVC’s Temecula campus. “I get to know students in all the programs: HVAC, Medical Assisting – it makes me feel more connected to the campus, too,” she says.
Part of Krista’s desire to connect with her students comes from an early mentor, her great aunt Evie, a grandmotherly figure who briefly lived with her family when Krista was growing up. “She always injected humor and made things interesting,” says Krista. “She was just a fun, engaging person, and I feel I sometimes draw on that when I make a lesson plan and think about what might make the class much more interesting for everybody.”
One of the main things that drew Krista to SJVC was the importance the college places on its students. “So much effort is placed on getting to know the students, and I became really passionate about how SJVC, specifically, teaches students,” says Krista.
The most important thing Krista wants to give her students is confidence in themselves. “I want them to know that they can do this,” she says. “I like seeing them go out for extern and really enjoying it. One student, just three days in, is working for a compounding pharmacy and just loves it so much. Seeing their experience out there in the real world is the most enjoyable part.”
Like a proud parent, Krista cheers her students on long after they graduate. “I love it when they drop by to tell other students about their experience,” she says. “A student may be sitting there feeling a little lost, and gets to see how impactful this (education) can be if they just stick it out those last few months.”
Krista’s nurturing nature will have another beneficiary when later this year she and her husband, Luke, welcome their first child.
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