The first step: internship offers chemistry major a look into her future
Natasha Tang is ready to achieve her dreams of a career in pharmacy
Posted on November 17, 2016
Natasha Tang, ’18, learned to read a prescription, code a label, research patient profiles, locate medications on the pharmacy shelves and operate a cash register.
All this, on her very first day of her internship.
Natasha needs to complete 120 hours of practical training in order to become a certified pharmacy technician. A chemistry major at Mount Mary, Natasha is taking an additional online certification course in order to complete her internship at a Walgreens pharmacy.
“They had me doing everything,” she said, and that suited her well. “I’m ready to work my way up.”
Internships offer students an immersion in their field of study. Natasha will work between 12 and 18 hours a week through the beginning of December in order to gain her certification. She wants to work in a retail setting through her junior year and switch to a hospital pharmacy in summer.
“Doing the online coursework and becoming certified is a lot of extra work, but it’s worth it,” she said. “I want to have my foot in the door.”
A transfer student from UW- Milwaukee, Natasha designed her pre-pharmacy coursework under the guidance of Cheryl Bailey, dean of the School of Natural and Health Sciences and Steve Levsen, chemistry director and her advisor. She plans to continue to pharmacy school after she graduates.
“With my chemistry background, I’m fascinated learning about how drugs react with the body,” she said.
““They had me doing everything. I’m ready to work my way up.”
As part of her internship she is learning the practical aspects of the job. For example, she can explain that +q4h is shorthand for take one every four hours. And she’s learning that the qualities of persistence, pragmatism and care are as important on the job as they are in the classroom.
The hardest part of the job, she said, isn’t particularly difficult. But it is extremely important to be precise because people’s wellness is on the line.
“Counting out pills is so important because you have to be exact,” she said. “This is a fast-paced job but I have to take the time to be careful. I can’t rush myself.”
Eventually Natasha hopes to get trained to administer flu shots and other skilled tasks. But for now she is proud of these first steps up her career ladder.
“I’m super proud that I’ve gotten this started,” she said. “This was a huge accomplishment for me.”