February 16, 2024

Inspired by a childhood friend’s care journey, Jennifer Wright always knew she would work for Vanderbilt one day

“I love what I do; I have a passion for people, and I know getting my job done is helping someone. When I say I’m going to do something, I want to succeed.”

Jennifer Wright, certified pharmacy technician, Vanderbilt University Hospital. Photo by Donn Jones.

Jennifer Wright, a certified pharmacy technician at Vanderbilt University Hospital’s Central Pharmacy, is called “a breath of fresh air” by those who work with her.  She’s a hard worker who always goes beyond what is asked of her.

For her devotion to her job and her colleagues, her ability to complete large volumes of work in a day, often under high pressure, and her willingness to step in to help others finish their tasks for the day after finishing hers, Wright received a Credo Award at the January VUMC Leadership Assembly.

“At times this (working the Central Pharmacy) can be a strenuous task due to our heavy volumes of calls, items to be tubed up, and new orders that come in. It amazes me how well Jennifer can juggle so many tasks at once while never getting overwhelmed and communicating with her colleagues to ensure they have what they need as well,” a nominator wrote.

Wright has been at VUMC since January 2021, following 16 years of retail experience at CVS pharmacy in Springfield, Tennessee. In the Central Pharmacy she multitasks between pulling medications to dispense to the floors and taking the medications to the floors herself. She gets a lot of steps in every day, she says.

“I have a passion for people. The hospital can’t provide for the patients without nurses, without the pharmacy,” Wright said. “It’s teamwork here with everybody working as a team to take care of patients. I know getting my job done is helping someone.”

Wright said working at VUMC has been a goal for years after seeing a childhood friend with cystic fibrosis be cared for at what was then Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. “I always said, ‘One day I’d love to work at Vanderbilt,’” she said.

Last year, in addition to her regular job duties in the Central Pharmacy, Wright joined the VUH Narcotic Team during the shortage of Oxycodone. “She jumped in with both feet and helped package 3,000-plus tablets daily to keep up with the heavy usage of the drug throughout the hospital,” one of the nominators wrote. “The process of unit dose packaging is a very tedious and time-consuming job, but she is always eager to start her day with a smile and tackle any obstacle that is thrown her way.”

And the obstacles were plenty last year. Her mother died in April after battling the effects of COVID-19 for two years. Wright and her sister had worked every day at their jobs, then alternated caring for their very ill mother at home. The day after their mother died, Wright’s sister was diagnosed with a high-grade breast cancer.

“Juggling that and work was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Wright said. “Sometimes it was hard for me to come to work and be positive, but I knew that my work needed to be done whether I felt like it or not. I love what I do; I have a passion for people, and I know getting my job done is helping someone. When I say I’m going to do something, I want to succeed.”

Wright is also often asked to help train new staff, a task she enjoys. “Jennifer has excelled in ensuring these new hires are welcomed into the pharmacy and made to feel at home in a big place. She is a role model for the type of excellent service we hope to provide to our patients and nursing staff,” a nominator wrote.

“I just like to train people, to show them how to do things,” Wright said. “I want them to feel welcome here.”

View Jennifer Wright’s video from Leadership Assembly here.

If you are a VUMC employee, you can nominate a colleague for an Elevate Credo Award, Five Pillar Leader Award, or Team Award. Visit the Elevate website to fill out a nomination form. Employees demonstrate credo behaviors when: they make those they serve the highest priority; respect privacy and confidentiality; communicate effectively; conduct themselves professionally; have a sense of ownership; and are committed to their colleagues. Elevate award nominations are accepted year-round. If a nomination is received after the cut off for an award selection period, the nomination will be considered for the next period. VUMC VOICE will post stories on each of the award winners in the weeks following their announcement.