James Betts, Toledo Pharmacy

February 10, 2020

Brothers and Sisters

Big sisters know what they’re talking about sometimes; you should listen to them.

James Betts discovered this nearly 12 years ago when his sister, an employee of Heartland Pharmacy, alerted him to a job opening on the floor filling prescriptions, and suggested he apply. As a factory worker at the time, restless when thinking of making a career of that job, James decided it was time for a change.

 

The Pharmacy Life

He joined the pharmacy team in 2008 and spent 2 years learning about pharmacy protocol, medications, sterile environments, and filling prescriptions quickly and with accuracy. He transferred then to the Phone Room Department where they specialize in handling the processing of narcotic and controlled medications. They’re also frequently called upon to assist nurses in urgent pharmacy related situations.

Patient Advocate

This often high-pressure climate created an unusual bond between James and his co-workers. They became like family; having each other’s backs and bickering all the same.

“We speak with nurses when they are experiencing some rather difficult circumstances. That means that, at times, the calls can become very challenging,” James says. “It’s frustrating because it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we are all on the same team. Conversely, it’s very rewarding when we are able to help nurses through teamwork, which allows us to be the best advocates for patients.”

Family is Everything

James’ concern for patient care extends beyond his Heartland Healthcare Services pharmacy work. He is currently in his last semester of studies at the University of Toledo, working on a B.A. in psychology with a minor in Spanish. His aspiration is to become a clinical psychologist that specializes in researching and treating PTSD and substance abuse.

His greatest priority is his family, though. Married to Ebony for 10 years, they’ve been blessed with 4 children; Nick, Matt, Max, and Evelyn. Together they play video games, watch sports like football and basketball, and just hang out whenever they can. Family is everything to James.

Secret Santa

That’s why the events just prior to Christmas 2018 were particularly hard on him. The City decided to tow his SUV that had been parked right in front of his home. An obscure regulation allowed only for 18-hour parking, unbeknownst to James and his wife. In order to pay the fine to get his vehicle out of impound, he would have to dip into their hard-earned Christmas fund. The budget was tight as it was, and that meant even less for the kids. James and Ebony decided to forego giving each other gifts that year, to lessen the sting of that budget hit on the kids.

“I told my colleagues in the phone room about what had happened and how frustrating it was,” James recalls. “It was so inconvenient and couldn’t have come at a worse time. That Friday, I came in and there was an envelope on my desk with my name on it. I opened it up and $50 was inside.”

The gesture rendered James speechless. The realization that someone had taken money from their own budget to ease the burden on James, made a huge impact.

“Honestly, it isn’t even about the money. The act and thought behind it was so kind – and I realize how cliché that is – but it is absolutely true!”

 

The Heartland Way

This is the kind of “family” James’ big sister introduced him to all those years ago. And he’s learned a lot of lessons through his career journey, from fast food to factory and into healthcare. When asked what advice he’d share with someone just starting out, James says, “Never let any company, manager, or person in a position of power scare you by hanging your job over your head. No one should be allowed to make you feel absent of value. You have value and you have worth; no one else gets to define it.”

James may have jumped into working with Heartland because he saw it as a better opportunity than where he was currently working, but he’ll tell you now that the friendships he’s gained while working in the pharmacy have immeasurable value to him.

Of that generous benefactor last Christmas James says, “To this day I do not know who left that money for me. I was, and remain, incredibly grateful for such an act of kindness, and whoever you are, I thank you most graciously.”

Speaking on behalf of all of us at Heartland, the nurses you work with, and the patients you serve – Thank You, James! Your dedication and positive spirit help us all be just that much better.

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