When I first stumbled across Dr. Mary Sue McAslan’s website I knew she was someone I wanted to talk to. She is a pharmacist, an author, she’s interested in social media and a passionate advocate for patient safety. She is also an expert in optimizing efficiency, an area that I find especially interesting. She kindly agreed to answer a few questions for all of us. So grab a drink, have a seat, and let’s listen to what Mary Sue has to share.
1) Hi Mary Sue! Thanks for sharing your time with us here at The Honest Apothecary to tell us a little about your career and your work as a pharmacist. Could you begin just by telling us how you got into pharmacy to begin with? What drew you to this profession?
My grandfather and both of my parents were pharmacists. My mother practiced well into her seventies and she served as my role model. My niece is in her second year of Pharmacy School and she is the fourth generation of pharmacists in my family.
2) Could you briefly review some of the jobs you have held as a pharmacist during your career? What was your favorite?
I started my career as an inpatient pharmacist at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo Mississippi. I then went to work for Omnicare in long-term care pharmacy, then to Kaiser in ambulatory care, next to the Cleveland Clinic Health System in acute care and now I am at the VA in Denver. My favorite is the VA. It allows me the opportunity to use my clinical skills as well as my background in quality improvement and medication safety.
3) It appears from your website that you have become fairly well recognized as a leader in medication safety and quality improvement. Can you tell us how this part of your career developed?
I was trained as a Quality Circle leader and led my first quality team in the pharmacy at North Mississippi Medical Center in 1980. As I moved forward in my career, I was able to apply these skills to design safer systems in inpatient pharmacies and ambulatory care settings.
Today, I am a lean six-sigma black belt, which represents a high level of training in systems redesign and process improvement.
4) According to your LinkedIn profile, you started America’s Family Pharmacist about 5 years ago. Is that right? Could you explain to my readers exactly what that is?
I started America’s Family Pharmacist when I was writing my first book, Read the Prescription Label and other tips to prevent deadly and costly medication errors. This site has since evolved to http://www.drmarysue.com and provides readers a place to go to get valuable information about medication safety.
5) In addition to everything else, you are also the author of several books. Could you tell us about these books and where they can be purchased?
Read the Prescription Label and other tips to prevent deadly and costly medication errors was written because of the ongoing need for patient information about taking medications correctly. The book consists of sixty tips most notably Go NUTS! – ask your pharmacist for help. This tip uses the acronym NUTS to remind patients to ask their pharmacist the Name of their medication, what it is Used for, how to Take it correctly and any Side effects.
It is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Advancing Excellence in Healthcare Quality- 40 Strategies for Improving Patient Outcomes and Providing Safe, High-Quality Healthcare, is my second book and has just been published by Greenbranch Publishing. This book was written for healthcare providers and is divided into four sections, Optimize Outcomes, Reduce Readmissions, Minimize Medication Errors and Promote Prevention. Each section has 10 different strategies to improve the quality of patient care. These include Med Rec not Med Wreck! and Prevent Discharge Disasters.
6) As a blogger and active social media user myself, I appreciate what the internet has enabled me to do. Could you talk about how your own blog, website and other social media sites have helped you in what you do?
Social media has allowed me to get the word out about medication safety and process improvement. This is such an important topic and one that many people are reluctant to discuss, however, the internet provides a forum where readers seem to be more willing to share thoughts and ideas.
My website www.drmarysue.com provides a place where readers can go to get information related to medication safety, download a med list and other forms and purchase my books.
Twitter @drmarysue /facebook and linkedin provide the mechanism to disseminate important information quickly to large numbers of followers.
7) What do you see yourself really focusing on over the next 5 years?
Using lean and six-sigma methodology to design safe and efficient systems in hospitals to provide high quality patient care.
8) So, when you aren’t working on pharmacy related projects, do you have any other hobbies?
In my spare time I like to play golf with my husband, Keith.
Dr. Mary Sue McAslan is the author of Advancing Excellence in Healthcare Quality: 40 Strategies for Improving Patient Outcomes and Providing Safe, High-Quality Healthcare available on Amazon and at www.greenbranch.com/40strategies and Read the Prescription Label: and other tips to prevent deadly and costly medication errors. It is available on Amazon and at www.drmarysue.com.
Visit her website and contact her directly at www.drmarysue.com
Visit her author page at: https://amazon.com/author/drmarysue
Follow her on Twitter at: @drmarysue
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