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How Overcoming Obstacles Led to an Intern's Pharmacy Tech Career

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As an intern with Project Search, Stephen Parten’s journey began quietly. 

“He was very quiet and did not make eye contact and he would keep his head down," said Amanda Watts, pharmacy technician supervisor at Ochsner Rush Health.

However, with the support of the Ochsner Rush Health pharmacy team and Project Search, Stephen blossomed into a confident and skilled pharmacy technician.

Project Search helps people with disabilities have career opportunities, said Nicole Harmon, PharmD, regional director of pharmacy at Ochsner Rush. Through this program, the hospital teaches them a job function and gives them an opportunity that they would not have otherwise.

"Ochsner values of equality and being able to provide opportunities to everyone," Nicole said. "This embraces that." 

Today, Stephen proudly holds his pharmacy tech license. He delivers prescriptions around the hospital unsupervised, smiles, makes eye contact and laughs with his team. He has completely come out of his shell.

"In high school, I wasn’t really learning new things, but until I got to Project Search and started working at the pharmacy, I started learning a lot of new things," Stephen said. "It has given me the confidence that I will need to get a job and tell people that anything is possible if you step out of your shell."

Stephen's passion and eagerness to learn have inspired the entire Ochsner Rush pharmacy team, who are honored to be a part of his journey.

“I do think that Stephen is something we needed that we didn’t know we needed that brought everybody together," Amanda said. "Stephen is a part of our team.”

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