Take a Leap in Your Professional Development
"Never be so foolish as not to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you." - Andrew Carnegie
This was precisely my strategy when I decided to apply for the ISMP Safe Medication Management Fellowship. 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 – the Institute for Safe medication Practices (ISMP).
For me, after seeing the advertisement in the ISMP Medication Safety Alert!® newsletter to "Become an ISMP Fellow" for several years, I made the decision to “take a leap” and apply for the Fellowship which meant potentially leaving my position as Lead Pharmacist at one of the top children's hospitals in the nation. I embarked on this journey in January of 2022 gathering my references, writing my letter of intent, and preparing for potential interviews, and by July, I was transitioning to be the 2022-2023 ISMP Safe Medication Management Fellow.
Little did I realize all the other benefits and opportunities that would come from being an ISMP Fellow. ISMP has a small but mighty team that pumps out newsletters, self-assessments, tools, and guidelines we all rely on. What may not be as apparent is that the staff at ISMP are also deeply invested in the professional development of their fellows. Whether it's challenging you with investigating topics/issues that are unfamiliar or outside your area of expertise, encouraging you to present medication safety issues at conferences, supporting your involvement in professional organizations, or actively growing your network by introducing you to medication safety specialists across the country, staff at ISMP have your best interest in mind.
In just the first six months of my Fellowship, here are some examples of what I have experienced:
Drafted responses to over six dozen medication safety inquiries
Wrote almost a dozen newsletter articles and blogs
Analyzed over 600 adverse event reports related to direct oral anticoagulants (reigniting my interest in anticoagulation)
Led topic discussions for Temple APPE students, Novartis Fellows, and ISMP staff (reaffirming my passion to teach)
Attended and presented at the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists Annual Assembly
Learned and networked at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting
Witnessed the one and only Michael Cohen recognized for his achievements during his retirement party and his acceptance of the 2022 ISMP Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual Cheers Awards
All of these activities have contributed to my professional growth and development in the realm of medication safety.
ISMP has truly lit the spark for me to channel my inner Alexander Hamilton ("write like you're running out of time") and contribute to the body of knowledge in medication safety. Sharing knowledge and patient safety stories has become a powerful tool in my arsenal to improve medication safety for patients, and I look forward to all of the learning opportunities that may arise in the remaining six months of my fellowship.
If you needed a sign to “take a leap” and apply for that fellowship, sign up for the Medication Safety Intensive Workshop, complete the ASHP & ISMP Medication Safety Certificate Program, or explore other avenues of career growth, consider this your sign.