Moncrief Army Health Clinic processes more than 1,500 prescriptions during a normal day at the Fort Jackson, South Carolina-based facility. For many, that would seem like an exceptional number, but for Jonathan McFall, it’s all in a day’s work.
McFall, a civilian employee at Moncrief, serves as the clinic’s assistant pharmacy chief. He is no stranger to working with military members, as he also doubles as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves. He recently departed Fort Jackson to serve as a pharmacy consultant during a temporary deployment to Southwest Asia.
He said he is looking forward to the deployment, as it allows him to perform similar duties, but in a different environment.
“There will be similar pharmacy duties as far as checking and verification, but there’ll also be consulting duties as far as pharmacy inspections at some of the lower tier, Role 1 and Role 2 units that don’t have a direct pharmacist there, who will be responsible for inspecting the medication management aspect of the medication and controlled substances that go out of those Role 1 and Role 2 units,” McFall explained.
He said there is a difference between the two sides of pharmacy work.
“(In the military role) there is more higher-level administration that we deal with, as far as pharmacy things. A lot of the filling and some of that stuff that you deal with on the civilian side gets delegated down to our 68Qs, our pharmacy techs on the enlisted side,” McFall said.
“But some it has similarities,” he added. “You’re still doing medication management expiration dates, making sure that people are doing the right thing, such as signing off on (paperwork) when they receive medications, or signing off on our log sheets that we’re receiving things or closing out controlled areas.”
McFall said he expects that there will be challenges associated with being deployed, but he looks forward to serving abroad.
“Obviously with things down range you have a little more condensed timeline. You’re often up against a timeclock because things are more time sensitive. You have to make sure things are done exactly on time so that everything else can cascade its way down and make it to the end user, whether it be to your direct command or who ever your direct commander reports to,” he pointed out.
McFall, a Rock Hill native who earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacology from Clemson University, and later his doctorate from the University of South Carolina, said joining the U.S. Army Reserve was something he always wanted to do.
“I considered it right out of pharmacy school, and I spoke with the Navy initially. It kind of got right down to graduation time and it obviously takes a long time to process into the military between all the health checks and paperwork and I kind of got right up against the wall with graduation approaching. I ran out of time with that and went right into retail,” he explained.
“I came to Moncrief as a civilian in 2017 and it made sense to me relook at joining the military. About six months after my arrival here, I received my commission into the U.S. Army Reserves,” he added.
McFall said he is proud of his military service and being able to represent South Carolina and the United States during his deployment.
“It definitely makes me proud,” he said. “It’s an opportunity in this day and age that comes as a rare opportunity to deploy as a pharmacist because there’s not a huge opportunity for us overseas. If we can go and represent pharmacy and make sure we’re doing the right thing, we’re obviously showing that we’re still a valued commodity within the Army.”