Blog Post

Medication Safety: A Passion and a Responsibility

Farzana Samad, PharmD, ISMP Safe Medication Management Fellow 2018-2019

In 2011, I took an oath as a pharmacist to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others. This oath commits me to:

  • applying my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability for my patients;

  • holding myself and my colleagues of interdisciplinary teams to the highest principles of our profession’s moral and ethical conduct;

  • embracing and advocating changes that improve patient care; and

  • using my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Each day, I take this oath to heart. I know first-hand that there are situations where, despite best efforts and due diligence, healthcare professionals can make an error due to process and product flaws. Indeed, we are all human.

Consequences of systemic errors directly impact patients and their families, as well as the healthcare professionals who never intended to err.

A Culture of Safety, Across Disciplines and Borders

By the time I began my fellowship at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, I had been reading the acute care newsletter ISMP Medication Safety Alert!® for almost seven years. The ISMP newsletters and Just Culture illustrate root causes of errors, which dig deeper than the individual. ISMP successfully collaborates with organizations, domestic and international, to share information and advance patient safety. I wanted to learn from the trailblazers in medication safety and gain the leadership skills necessary to set exemplary standards for safe practice in healthcare.

Leadership is key. Healthcare professionals must be encouraged to report errors in a non-punitive, progress-focused environment. Leaders in all healthcare practice settings must create and maintain a culture of safety and care. Industry must provide labeling and packaging in the most clear and safe manner possible. This is the foundation for ensuring a safer future for our patients and our caregivers.

ISMP Fellowship Leads the Way

As an ISMP fellow, I feel I am contributing to crucial work that supports a safety culture across multiple professions and multiple continents.

ISMP creates opportunities for fellows to become leaders and advocates for patient safety. Immersing ourselves in ISMP’s mission, listening to consumers and healthcare professionals, and collaborating with other organizations, we search for process improvement ideas that may change the course for many institutions.

My experience with ISMP has been eye-opening, encouraging, and fulfilling. Working alongside people with such passion is a catalyst for progress. I’m excited to share the knowledge gained in this fellowship, to make positive impacts on health initiatives, and to best fulfill the pharmacist’s oath.

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