CMSA Blog

Don't Assume

A nurse plopped down in the chair next to me with a frustrated look on her face. She needed my help to re-educate a patient. This patient and her spouse, there for support, have been coming into clinic to get her chemotherapy infusions. She is on a specific chemotherapy regimen which involves taking steroids the day before, the day of, and the day after her chemotherapy infusion. Week after week someone educates the patient-spouse pair on the steroids, and week after week the patient returns to clinic without taking them.

Should a Medication Safety Pharmacist be a Humble Leader?

The concepts of humbleness and humility are frequently shared as key leadership skills for the future.  A 2016 article in the Washington Post by Ashley Merryman suggests that research about leadership shows that humble leaders are often more influential and effective than their narcissistic peers are.  Merryman shares a long list of other benefits of humble leadership based on research.  In many ways, humility on the part of a leader provides a path to better self-awareness and the development of an accurate inventory of strengths and weaknesses – along with a will to

Jump On In

A few months ago I was rounding with a team of surgeons and saw that one of our patients had a note in her chart that she only spoke Spanish. I was eager to see how her English-speaking doctors would communicate with her because I speak both languages and had never seen someone use an interpreter before.

Is Slapping a Band-Aid On It the Right Approach?

As I began preparing discharge documents for a patient, I noticed what seemed to be an unusual error within the patient’s profile. An INR level had not been drawn for this patient since their warfarin therapy was restarted two days prior.

America's Favorite Leftovers

Who actually likes to eat leftovers anyway? Most people I know do not particularly like leftovers, but I’d say most people like to keep their leftover medications. Why is that a concern? Keeping leftover medications can be hazardous. Taking medicine without proper guidance can be dangerous and access to medicines can put family members at risk for accidental ingestion. Also, the efficacy and potency of a medicine can be reduced over time and some medicines can actually become toxic if kept too long.

The Hidden Curriculum

During pharmacy school, as part of my Medication Safety APPE rotation I was assigned to read “Speaking Up About the Dangers of the Hidden Curriculum.” This was the first time I had been introduced to the hidden curriculum. To provide background, the hidden curriculum includes the lessons and perspectives that students learn through their interactions that are often unintended consequences.

Medication Errors: A Global Issue

While cultural norms, common language, and styles of living may get lost in translation as one works their way around the world, medication errors most certainly do not. This was evident on my recent adult medicine rotation in Eldoret, Kenya where one incident in particular stands out in my mind.

The Hidden Pillbox

It was a routine counseling session on an anticoagulant medication, which I did at least three times a day for three different patients. I was prepared to speak to the patient about the warfarin she was taking after her recent orthopedic surgery. I entered the room, introducing myself to the patient and her daughter, verifying the patient’s information, and explaining the purpose of the medication, along with side effects, interactions, and monitoring associated with warfarin. I finished my counseling and asked the patient what questions she had for me.

Ask the Question

How much do you trust your healthcare provider? Have you ever questioned them about your diagnosis or treatment regimen?

Communication is Key

During one of my pharmacy rotations, I witnessed a medication prescribing error that was caused by a series of unfortunate events.

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