Blog Post

A Quick Walk…in the Shoes of an ISMP International Fellow

By Barbrakaryne N. Nchinda Fobi, PharmD, MPH

The past year has flown by! Before the next year begins, I want to share my experience during my first year as an ISMP fellow.

My journey to ISMP started when I was a recent grad, working as a third-shift hospital pharmacist and moonlighting at a community pharmacy on my off weeks. I enjoyed every bit of my work experience, but felt there was something missing.

I started researching ways to further my education in my dream field: Medication Safety. After some months of looking, I landed on ISMP's website, et voilà! a fellowship opportunity that spoke to my soul: the ISMP International Medication Safety Management Fellowship. The title is a mouthful, I know, but it is sassy.

In haste, I applied. I was shocked to be offered an interview, let alone be selected.

In September 2017, as I walked into the ISMP's office in Horsham Pennsylvania as the first ISMP international fellow, I felt like a kid in a candy store. So many educational materials, tools, and – most important – ISMP's Medication Safety Alert! newsletters (which I considered my biweekly medication safety novel).

Acquiring New Skill Sets

Soon I would realize the different skill sets involved: communication, writing, reviewing, editing, teaching. I was also exposed to a vast network of professional organizations, regulatory agencies, drug information vendors and drug companies. The network also includes ISMP sister organizations: ISMP Canada, ISMP Brasil, ISMP Spain and the International Medication Safety Network (IMSN).

ISMP afforded me opportunities to:

  • Present at the 12th Annual International Medication Safety Network (IMSN) meeting in Beijing, China;

  • Share work at the 78th International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) world congress in Glasgow, Scotland;

  • Travel to the World Health Organization's (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland;

  • Visit the National Institute for Health (NIH) in London, England;

  • Visit local healthcare systems, including the Lancaster General Hospital, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), PAR Pharmaceutical, and the compounded sterile preparation outsourcer PharMEDium; and

  • Attend the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Midyear 2017 clinical meeting and exhibition in Orlando, Florida. 

I continue to appreciate the extraordinary learning and teaching experiences ISMP offers with medication safety experts around the world.

Being a Contributor

Now, I have worked on a number of high-profile projects. They include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/IMSN summit with international drug regulators on labeling and packaging to address medication errors.

I am also actively involved with ISMP's smart infusion pump summit.

I am writing articles and reviewing medication error reports. I have participated in Med-ERRs safety reviews, precepted two Temple University pharmacy students, and responded to a variety of medication safety-related inquiries.

Willingness to learn, enthusiasm and perseverance play a big role in the Fellowship. In return, the Fellow acquires the power to network: ISMP offers the opportunity to work with a vast number of national and international professionals.

The connections I’ve made to date propel me forward, and will last a lifetime. I can confidently say deciding to complete this fellowship was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I will be forever thankful to the ISMP staff for molding me into the professional I am today.

Watch out world, I am gaining another year of experience!

Thanks a million for the opportunity to do all of this, and to tell you about it today,


More News

I knew if I wanted to become a subject matter expert and advance through the ranks of medication safety specialists, I needed to align myself with the organization considered the gold standard for medication safety information.