Mother follows in daughter’s footsteps to become pharmacy technician at Mayo Clinic

Katie DeWitt and her mother, Cheryl DeWitt, have more than a last name in common. Both are following the same career path as pharmacy technicians at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

When Katie DeWitt was trying to figure out her career direction, she got a tip from her mother, Cheryl DeWitt.

Cheryl DeWitt had heard about a new Pharmacy Technician Program being offered at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. She knew that Katie, who was 18 and had recently graduated high school, was interested in healthcare, and suggested Katie check out the program.

It turned out to be great advice. Within seven months, Katie had completed the pharmacy technician program and was hired by Mayo Clinic Pharmacy in Rochester.

Things turned out so well that Katie had some advice for her mom — she encouraged her mom to consider a career change and enroll in the pharmacy technician program herself.

Cheryl had already seen the benefits of the program. So a second DeWitt completed the program. Today both work in the pharmacy at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

Mother follows daughter's footsteps

At the time, Cheryl Dewitt was a lead teller at Mayo Clinic Employees Credit Union in Rochester but was looking to try something new.

"I wanted to do something different, and it seemed like Katie was enjoying her work and had a lot of options for career paths," Cheryl says.

But at 46, it wasn't an easy switch.

"It was a little daunting being older and trying to start a new direction, but I've really loved it," she says.

After completing the program, Cheryl started her new career as a pharmacy technician at the Specialty Clinic Pharmacy at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Parent becomes colleague

The parallel career paths eventually brought mother and daughter together at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where they enjoy running into each other at work.

"It's been a great change of career for me, and it's pretty special to be able to see your daughter at work, even though our schedules overlap for just a short time each day," Cheryl says.

For Katie, there's no hiding that their relationship runs deeper than being colleagues.

"We have a close enough resemblance that people at work already suspect we may be related," she says. "Then they hear us interact in the pharmacy joking with each other, and they figure it out. We're always professional, but I'm not going to pretend she's simply a co-worker. She's my mom."

Evolving field offers growth opportunities

Katie and Cheryl DeWitt say Mayo's Pharmacy Technician Program opens a lot of doors, whether you're a recent high school graduate or a mid-career worker looking for the next challenge.

"Pharmacy is always changing, and you need to be on your toes to keep up, which is what I like most about the job," Katie says.

Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists to fill prescriptions, as well as prepare and distribute medications and other pharmaceutical products. 

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences offers the Pharmacy Technician Program at multiple locations in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Katie says the site rotations were a big advantage in preparing her for the work.

The 20-week program has three months of online, classroom and then on-campus lab education, and two months of clinical rotations.

Matthew Rewald, program director for the pharmacy technician program, says it prepares graduates for a career with continually expanding advancement opportunities.

"The pharmacy profession has been evolving at an unprecedented pace over the past few years," Rewald says. "The role of the pharmacy technician is now seen as a critical component of the healthcare delivery system with vast opportunities for career growth." 

More information

Visit the Pharmacy Technician Program website to learn more.