Here at Pima Medical, we have been committed to improving people’s lives by providing the best quality in medical career education for more than 50 years. Sara Vecchia, Lead Pharmacy Technician Instructor at the Tucson campus,lives that mission every day. She was recently named one of Career Education Review’s 2023 Exceptional Educator Award recipients. She is not only an exceptional instructor; she is also a proud Pima Medical Alumnus.
Vecchia is a pharmacy professional, and made a decision to further her career. While a full-time instructor at Pima Medical, Vecchia chose to enroll in and complete our Health Care Administration associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
She told us, “I completed both programs back-to-back and I would highly recommend this. I felt this was a huge part of my success when transitioning into the bachelor’s program because everything from the associate program was still fresh. I work full-time as the Lead Pharmacy Technician Instructor and I am a very busy mom of four amazing children. The structure of the online courses is tailored for the working individual. I was able to continue working full time, chauffeur all of my children to and from school and activities, spend time with my family and complete all of my assignments for the programs.”
While she doesn’t want to make it sound easy, Vecchia does have some advice to being successful throughout the online learning process. She says, “It does take time management and organizational skills, but something as simple as creating a calendar with your entire list of due dates easily keeps you on track.”
Vecchia’s dedication to her career is equal to her dedication to her students. According to the award submission, Vecchia navigates her multi-faceted role of an instructor, program leader and pharmacy professional with grace and enthusiasm. Displaying her efficacy, 88% of pharmacy students at Pima Medical Institute in Tucson, Ariz., successfully cleared their Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam in the most recent reporting period, scoring between 4-12 points higher on the four test domains.
She has implemented Academic Action plans for struggling students and Zoom tutoring, which has helped increase retention rates from 70% to 83.6%. Acknowledged as a particularly adept math instructor, Vecchia demonstrates commitment that extends beyond teaching to program oversight, American Society of Health System Pharmacists reporting, and the management of externship and site qualification visits.
In addition, she lends her expertise as a guest Pharmacology teacher for Tucson’s Physical Therapist Assistant program. Sara’s influence extends beyond the classroom, as she plays a pivotal role in developing and managing hybrid content for the pharmacy technician program. Her dedication is also apparent in producing video lessons for pharmacy math content, shared collaboratively across programs.
Additionally, she remains engaged with the pharmacy community, nurturing connections with alums who have become professional pharmacists and Pima Medical faculty. Her holistic approach and impressive contributions make her an invaluable asset to the pharmacy education community.
Vecchia’s recent award highlights her commitment to students, faculty and staff throughout Pima Medical. She’s an amazing example of a faculty member that truly cares, and her commitment to her own development is inspiring to those around her.
Vecchia says, “There is never going to be the ‘perfect’ time to further your education. In reality, 12 months and 15 months are not very long! You would be surprised how quickly each program flies by. I would definitely recommend both HCA programs. Pima Medical gives you all of the tools you need to be successful. All of the instructors were committed and dedicated to my success. This makes a world of difference!”