Blog Post

I’m an ISMP Safe Medication Management Fellow. Here’s Why.

Samantha Burton, PharmD (2018-19 ISMP Safe Medication Management Fellow)

My name is Samantha Burton, but most people call me Sammy. I am a pharmacist, and I started in my role as a fellow at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in July 2018, which is supported by Baxter International, Inc.

My passion is providing medication to people in a way that always makes safety paramount. And now, I have a deepened understanding of, and greater appreciation for, the useful tools and resources made available by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.  

Keeping Medication Safety Guidelines Current

I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply my professional knowledge in updating ISMP’s Medication Safety Guidelines.

These guidance documents cover a range of topics. Some examples are insulin use, IV push medications, smart pumps, and automated dispensing cabinets. The Guidelines identify risks associated with medication use and provide recommendations for safer practice.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices prepares these Guidelines based on:

  • extensive reviews of the scientific literature;

  • input from experts and leaders in the field;

  • assessment of reports submitted to ISMP through the National Medication Errors Reporting Program (MERP); and

  • consensus decision-making to finalize the statements.

The Medication Safety Guidelines comprise a valuable resource – one I’ll always keep in my back pocket.

Extensive, Behind-the-Scenes Work

As a fellow, I have contributed to updates for a few of the guidelines. What does my work entail?

I scour scientific publications for the most up-to-date findings on each topic to provide insight for Guideline writing.

I review the language of the Guideline recommendations, as some statements can be multifactorial and complex. I also participate in discussions to address both internal and external review comments.  

Continual Improvement

It is not always easy to find literature on medication safety interventions. Therefore, the Medication Safety Guidelines are vital for practitioners.

The Medication Safety Guidelines provide key information to patient safety advocates who seek enhancements and process improvements. The Guidelines not only set forth recommendations; they also offer further discussion and clarification. Practitioners and advocates alike can benefit from understanding the rationales behind the suggested strategies to spur positive change and promote progression from the current state of practice.

Following my year at ISMP, I plan to refer to these documents whenever I need to quickly obtain carefully considered, expert opinions on medication safety. What a great experience to be a part of the extensive behind-the-scenes work that goes into their creation and maintenance!

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Since COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use authorization, The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has received reports of errors related to storage, preparation, and administration. Because COVID-19 vaccine errors can result in reduced effectiveness, and other safety implications