Pharmacist Spotlight: Jessica Hung, PharmD

Pharmacy TimesJanuary 2024
Volume 90
Issue 1

This month’s pharmacist spotlight features Jessica Hung— pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Alabama

Tell us a bit about your career and what you do now.

I worked as a pharmacy technician for 8 years before attending pharmacy school at Auburn University Harrison College of Pharmacy [in Alabama]. I graduated in 2014 and took a job at an independent pharmacy named Semmes Pharmacy. The owners, Alan Browning and Lancer Smith, took a risk by hiring me because they saw independent pharmacy evolving. I initially provided medication therapy management services before starting an immunization program at the pharmacy. This was largely out of my comfort zone because I was terrified of needles as a child, and I carried that fear into adulthood, but I made it my mission to provide immunizations as painlessly as possible. When the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the United States, I knew this was a huge opportunity for our pharmacy to assist. I spent time researching the vaccine rollout and made it known that our pharmacy was willing to step up to help the community. We were 1 of 3 pharmacies chosen in the state of Alabama to provide COVID-19 vaccines in the initial phases of the rollout. Our staff worked tirelessly to vaccinate as many people as we could. I was so proud of how well our team worked together to develop systems to efficiently take care of a large number of patients from across the state, every day. Today, our pharmacy is still actively involved in immunizations, and we love that some of our patients drive to our pharmacy just for their annual immunizations.

I also help other independent pharmacies start and maintain clinical programs with the goal of helping patients and mitigating direct and indirect remuneration fees. I am passionate about advocating for pharmacist involvement in health care. I think it is beneficial for everyone: patients, payers, and physicians.

What is the most rewarding part of pharmacy for you?

Taking care of patients and helping them reach their health care goals is by far the most rewarding part of pharmacy for me. I find great joy in spending time with patients and helping them find a medication regimen that works for them. I do not believe that pharmacists are utilized enough in disease state management in all states. As the most accessible health care professionals, we have the opportunity to see most of our patients every month. These touch points allow us to really address struggles and celebrate achievements with our patients and their health care providers.

I have a big heart for our geriatric population. They have a wealth of wisdom and are generally a joy to be around. My grandmother was my best friend; I worked diligently to help her find a medication regimen that worked well for her complex disease states while also fitting her budget. I try to put the same effort in helping each patient I have the opportunity to work with.

What are you most proud of in your career?

In 2020, I received the Preceptor of the Year Award from Auburn. I find great joy in helping students see how community pharmacists can be an integral part of a health care team, advocating for our patients and our profession. This recognition showed that the students [who] worked with me saw my passion for the profession and my desire to help them learn.

I also felt a huge sense of pride after our pharmacy team successfully vaccinated over 10,000 patients during the pandemic. Our state had not utilized pharmacists in public emergencies prior to this, so it felt incredible to be included and show how our profession is willing and able to help when called upon.

What advice would you give other pharmacists or pharmacy students?

My biggest advice would be to keep an open mind and be unafraid to move past your comfort zone. The different things I do today as a pharmacist are never where I envisioned myself when I started pharmacy school. I’m so grateful that God’s plan was bigger and better than my own. I’d also ask other pharmacists and pharmacy students to stay involved in advocacy for our profession. Other health care providers, patients, and even lawmakers don’t know what we are capable of unless we show them.

Let's Connect!


Instagram: @jesshungrx


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