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Follow Up Sentiments From Purdue University PHRM 868 – Patient Safety and Informatics Class

Last week, I was very encouraged but humbled, to receive the following email from my friend, Dr. Dan Degnan and his colleague Dr. Ephrem Abebe at Purdue University College of Pharmacy. They had invited me to speak last October to the students in their PHRM 868 – Patient Safety and Informatics class, all of whom are pursuing their doctorates in Pharmacy…our future leaders in healthcare.


“I wanted to drop you a quick note on behalf of Ephrem and myself to say thank you for coming to share your story, your knowledge and your expertise about Patient Safety and Informatics with our 3rd year pharmacy students last semester. Although some time has passed, we have started to debrief about potential improvements to class and to celebrate all the positives that came from the class.

As part of that process, we evaluate reflections written by all 150 students in class. One of the prompts for this assignment asks students to reflect on what lecture topic was most interesting to them and why? We took comments related to the lecture you provided and attached them.

Working in academia, I think it can be easy to forget the profound effect you can have on others. I wanted to share some of the impact you had on our students last semester.”

The following are only a few of those very kind student reflections, regarding my lecture:

“Mr. Jerry’s narrative was not just about personal tragedy; it was proof of his resilience and determination to transform that tragedy into a catalyst for change. What made this lecture truly memorable was Mr. Jerry’s decision to pursue a career in pharmacy following a devastating loss, driven by a commitment to increase awareness about patient safety and prevent medical errors.”

“Chris’s story didn’t invoke fear, but responsibility. It pushed me to delve deeper into patient safety, medications, and preventing their misuse, in anticipating potential pitfalls before they arise. His message resonated because it didn’t excuse others, it didn’t point fingers. Instead, it placed the responsibility squarely on our shoulders, the ones directly trusted with the final step in the medication chain.”

“Having a loved one pass away due to a mistake and being able to put your energy to preventing those same mistakes from impacting someone else is extremely noble, and what Mr. Jerry does to help educate us as students and future professionals is very admirable.”

“While it is extremely unfortunate Mr. Jerry had this tragedy in his life, through his words, passion and hope I felt changed and motivated as a healthcare professional to honor Emily. That it is my duty and obligation to change the system and spread awareness to prevent another occurrence like hers from happening again.”

EJF at Annual ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim California

Last week I had another speaking engagement at the Annual ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim California.  This has always been one of my favorite meetings because it’s the largest gathering of clinical pharmacists from around the globe, with around 25,000 pharmacy professionals in attendance each year.

When I first started doing this work many years ago, it was the modality of pharmacy, that immediately welcomed me into their fold. I always felt like they understood what I was trying to accomplish with Emily Jerry Foundation and my advocacy efforts.  Right away, I discovered that these amazing clinician caregivers shared my same exact passion for improving medication safety and saving lives from preventable medication errors.  So inevitably, I always end up running into quite a few people I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, many who have become dear friends that I haven’t seen in a while, and we all get a chance to catch up with one another. More importantly though, these are the true experts from the modality of pharmacy who are all just as passionate about medication safety as I am, and we’re all blessed to be assembled in one place every year!

This is also why I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to give a keynote and present with Eric Cropp, PharmD, and Michael Cohen, from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)) at the meeting this year. The event was sponsored & hosted by a new Emily Jerry Foundation partner, EQUASHIELD®.  I’m glad to align with their organization and the wonderful team they’ve assembled, to develop and implement their innovative technology solutions for pharmacy compounding.  Companies like theirs provide the exact “technology tools” and systems that I have often referred to over the years that are proven to save countless lives from preventable medication errors like the one that tragically claimed my daughter Emily’s life in 2006.

Upcoming Keynote Presentation at the ASHP Midyear Conference in Anaheim, CA, on December 4th

I’m thrilled to invite you to my upcoming keynote presentation at the ASHP Midyear Conference in Anaheim, CA, on December 4th, 2023. As the President and CEO of The Emily Jerry Foundation, I am proud to align with EQUASHIELD®, a brand that stands for safety, quality, and efficiency with its main focus on minimizing tragic medication errors and, in turn, saving countless lives.

Visit me at Equashield’s Booth 947, where they will be launching their latest product, designed to revolutionize the landscape of pharmacy compounding.

This event is an opportunity for us to learn, grow, and take a step into the future of hazardous drug compounding. Let’s shape the future of pharmacy together – click the link to sign up!

Together, we can truly make a difference. I really hope to see you there!
Learn more at: https://www.equashield.com/ashp-product-launch/

 

EJF Visits Purdue University College of Pharmacy

It was such a privilege and honor to have been given the opportunity to lecture at Purdue University College of Pharmacy this past Friday by my friend Dr. Dan Degnan.  There were approximately 150 students in the patient safety and informatics class in attendance, all working hard to pursue their doctorate degrees. These students are our future leaders & experts who will ALWAYS be fighting the “the good fight,” always striving to make medication safety the absolute number one priority amongst ALL their colleagues in the different modalities, helping to assure the best possible outcome for EVERY single patient receiving healthcare. This is also why I’m so pleased to be able to say that this (PHRM 86800) patient safety and informatics class is actually a required course for all third year (P3) students in Purdue’s PharmD program.

I’m so convinced & extremely confident, that through these PharmD student’s strong and effective leadership throughout their careers, these students are the ones who will help lead the charge to help save countless lives from preventable medication errors, like the one that tragically claimed my daughter Emily’s life in 2006.

Unfortunately, many people in the public are completely unaware that what happened to my daughter Emily was not just a freak accident and that medication errors are responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives every single year in the United States alone. This is what makes this issue relevant to literally, ALL of us!  Why?  The answer is simple, we ALL receive healthcare during our lifetime, as do ALL our loved ones.

The good news in all of this, as I’ve mentioned countless times before is that I truly believe preventable medical errors are just that…PREVENTABLE!

Louisiana Pharmacist’s Association Event in Baton Rouge, LA

This is the bio from the Louisiana Pharmacist’s Association’s Program Agenda…it very clearly sums up my true sentiments as to exactly why I am so passionate about my work in patient & medication safety.

I really love & enjoy my very unconventional career path and all the wonderful healthcare providers I’m so privileged to work with every single day…it’s what I feel I’ve been called to do considering what tragically happened to my daughter Emily in 2006. As I’m sure you can imagine though, I admit there have been many times over the years, I’ve still found myself looking up saying, “this is really all part of Your plan and what You really want me doing?”…my whole career since Emily died has truly been a walk of faith, learning to trust in God’s plan for me, but one I would never change or trade for anything.

This is also why I feel so honored to be giving the Keynote at the LPA Annual Meeting in Baton Rouge later today!

Technology in IV Workflow Management Systems

Ever since establishing the Emily Jerry Foundation and beginning my journey down this unconventional career path, I have felt very strongly that it was imperative to help people understand and recognize the simple fact that “human error” is inevitable. No matter how well educated or intended a person may be, God made us ALL fallible.  My primary objective over the years, has been to help prevent what happened to my beautiful baby girl, from happening to others. To accomplish this and save lives, I realized that this inherent “human error” component needs to be truly acknowledged, and subsequently, core systems, processes, and protocols, in healthcare designed around this fact.

This is why, I highly recommend reading this great article from Dr. Tyler Nichols, from ISMP, titled “IV Workflow Management Systems: A Century in the Making,” that was published in Pharmacy Practice News, last Friday.

Visit https://lnkd.in/g-64Eq_w, to learn more about this exciting technology.

As someone who has been a very outspoken proponent, over the years, for the smart adoption & implementation of technology, as the tools to help eradicate “human error” from the pharmacy workflow, I’m hoping and praying that you, the experts in the modality of pharmacy, will continue striving and “fighting the good fight” to make these lifesaving IV workflow management systems become a “standard of care” as soon as possible!

To all clinician caregivers, thank you for all of your ongoing efforts to improve medication safety and God bless you all for your continued support of The Emily Jerry Foundation!

MAST Recap and 119th NABP Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN

It’s been an extremely busy, but productive past few days, with respect to my advocacy efforts relating to the overall mission of the Emily Jerry Foundation.

Yesterday, I was so blessed to have the opportunity to present to such a wonderful and receptive audience at the Cleveland Clinic’s Medication Analytics, Safety & Technology Symposium. The presentation not only focused on improving medication safety and the prevention of medical errors, like the one that occurred with my daughter Emily in 2006, we also discussed, what is often referred to as the “2nd victim syndrome” and the overall impact that these tragic medication errors have on the health care providers, as well.

Then this morning, in Nashville, I had the distinct honor and privilege of being able to present to yet another amazing group of clinician caregivers & members of state boards of pharmacy at the 119th NABP Annual Meeting. During this presentation we described how “just culture” principles can be effectively used in evaluating and learning from medication errors. Our most important learning objective though, that I feel we truly accomplished today, was explaining how the use of tools such as continuous quality improvement can be utilized in the prevention of future tragic errors.

Cleveland Clinic Medication Analytics Safety & Technology Conference (MAST)

Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful dinner and opening reception for the Cleveland Clinic’s Medication Analytics, Safety & Technology Conference (MAST). This afternoon, I’m looking forward to participating in a CME titled “The Impact of Medication Errors on Healthcare Providers.” Afterwards, I’ll be heading to Nashville, where I feel very privileged to have another speaking engagement at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) 119th Annual Meeting. Tomorrow morning’s presentation is titled “Just Culture – Creating a New Regulatory Mindset.”

 

EJF at Adventure Church in Delaware, OH

Last Sunday, I felt so blessed & privileged to have the opportunity to be able to meet and speak with Granger Smith and his wife, Amber, at Adventure Church in Delaware Ohio. He gave a wonderful sermon with a great message about navigating through the trials and adversity in our lives, by focusing on James 1:2-4.

The week before last I had heard about Granger, a musician from Texas, who was making his final music tour called “Like a River”. He had made the announcement & bold decision to leave a successful career in country music to focus on ministry at his local church outside of Austin. In addition, he also has an upcoming memoir that I’m looking forward to reading which is scheduled to be released on Aug. 1st. It’s called “Like a River: Finding the Faith and Strength to Move Forward After Loss and Heartache.”

On June 4th of 2019, he was planning to head to Nashville for the CMT Music Awards the next day and then go on tour. Naturally, he was enjoying that evening spending time with his kids before he left on his trip. While helping his daughter London with her gymnastics, his youngest son, River, fell into their pool. Granger did everything he could to get to him in time, but he was too late. His three-year-old son River had tragically drowned.

We have much in common, not just with the unimaginable loss of our children, but we seem to have similar sentiments and perspectives about how strongly the grace of God has truly worked in our lives ever since…That God uses ALL the trials we face in life, ultimately for our good and for His glory…that He never allows pain without a purpose (Romans 8:28) and ALWAYS has a plan for our lives, even when we don’t understand or can’t even begin to comprehend in the moment, what those plans could possibly be (Jer. 29:11).

“It’s very personal. But the overwhelming feeling was that if my story could help others, then it’s worth it, then it matters” ~G. Smith

https://www.grangersmith.com/

Happy Birthday Emily, She Would’ve been 19 years old This Year!

Happy birthday my sweet baby girl in heaven! Even though you would be 19 years old today, you will always be my “baby girl” Emily! This time of year has always been so incredibly bittersweet for me. I love you and miss you so very much, but have such an inner peace and comfort, knowing that you are with the Good Lord now, and that I will see you again one day, where we will spend all of eternity together.

Ironically, in 2006, just like today, your birthday happened to be on a Friday. Despite the fact it was your birthday, after much conversation, your mother and I had made the tough decision to have you admitted to the hospital that morning, since this was to be your final three day round of chemotherapy. We were elated by the fact that only by God’s grace, a miracle had occurred, being given exactly the prognosis we had been hoping and praying for all along. We were told that the large tumor in your abdomen had completely disappeared and that this last treatment was supposed to make certain there were no residual cancer cells that might still be remaining that could possibly emerge later in life, causing you difficulty. Unfortunately, that Sunday, the day we were supposed to take you home and celebrate your recovery as a family, instead you went home to be with the Lord…a tragic preventable sterile IV medication compounding error occurred that horrible day, that ended up taking your life three days later, on March 1st.

Completely devastated, I remember thinking to myself, I don’t understand and can’t even begin to comprehend why this would even happen…You just cured her, now You’re taking her? Really? Now, I truly understand, what I didn’t back then. That God NEVER, allows pain without a purpose…“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.” ~Romans 8:28

As a result, I am now convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your short life here on earth…coupled with your legacy, which I am so pleased to say, lives on in the hearts and minds of so many around the globe, was truly meant to save quite possibly thousands of lives going forward!! As your daddy, I am eternally grateful that God blessed and gave me two amazing years with you here on earth!!

Happy Birthday, I love you sweetheart!

Daddy

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Thank you for the kind comments I received from many caregivers, associates, and friends who have used Emily’s powerful story during the course of their careers in patient safety! We are truly making a difference.