By: Tasnima Nabi, Copy Editor [Content-Focused]
Social media is a powerful platform, allowing for the quick and easy exchange of ideas. Although the Internet has facilitated universal access, for many, it can be difficult to find reliable information. By combining the power of the Internet with his dedication to the pharmacy profession, Eric Christianson, PharmD, BCPS, CGP, quickly became one of the most popular pharmacists on the Internet. His blog, Med Ed 101, provides clinical pearls of medication management in an easy-to-read and engaging format to readers all over the world. In addition to posting insight from his personal pharmacy experiences on a regular basis, Dr. Christianson also sends subscribers his “Top 30 Medication Mistakes.” His unique contribution to the pharmacy profession through Med Ed 101 offers all students and professionals in the healthcare system an easy way to learn something new every day.
Please tell us about educational experiences. What college/university did you attend? How was your education unique, and how did it contribute to your current career path?
I attended the University of Minnesota (Duluth Campus). I had initially thought that I would be doing community pharmacy when I was going through school. Community pharmacy was what I was comfortable with and really all I had known. I ended up in my fourth year on rotations in a clinical pharmacy (non-dispensing) setting and haven’t looked back since. I was born to do clinical pharmacy work and I hope you can sense my passion through the blog posts at meded101.com
Please tell us about your professional experiences.
I’ve been open to trying new things and because of that, I have had a lot of unique opportunities. I’ve participated in MTM through various ways, done home visits with patients, participated in a falls prevention programs with healthcare professionals with different skill sets. Primarily, I’m currently a long-term care consultant.
Med Ed 101 is your unique way of giving back to the pharmacy community, as you mention in your “About Me.” Why did you choose to blog about your experiences?
There’s about a million reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing. Through my long-term care consulting role, I get asked a lot of questions on a daily basis generally from nurses and prescribers. I wanted a way to address some of those issues that I see everyday in my practice. My goal was to help raise the level of awareness about medication related mistakes and problems. A lot of my posts have revolved around the problem of polypharmacy.
When did you decide to start Med Ed 101 and what steps did you take?
Med Ed 101 actually started on Facebook in about June of 2013. I committed myself to posting at least one clinical pearl for 90 days. My initial posts were seen by 20-50 people or so. In the first week, I posted something about vaccines and reached over 1,000 people with 50+ likes. I immediately knew I was onto something. As the Facebook page grew and I told more people about the project, I didn’t want to leave anyone out so that eventually led to me watching YouTube videos and reading articles on how to start a website. Learning how to do the website took a while, and I’m still not an expert by any means. With 90,000+ page views in well over 100+ countries, I made the right decision.
What is your favorite topic to post about? Can anyone submit to Med Ed 101?
I’m not really sure I have a favorite. If I had to pick one, probably the medication list reviews where I highlight a few different things I would look into further based upon potential interactions/high doses etc. I would say most viewers of the website enjoy the polypharmacy cases. I’m also getting some interest in my posts on the BCPS exam as well.
Anyone is welcome to submit a case study or piece of medication education. I focus on scenarios that I see in my everyday practice. I have a list of contributors on the website for those interested in adding something to their CV. I try to limit my posts to no more than 600 words. On average, I’d say mine are around 300-400 (not very long). You can email me at [email protected] if this interests you.
What would you say is the best and worst aspect about maintaining Med Ed 101?
The best aspect by far is helping people. I’ve also been incredibly surprised by the outpouring of support and encouragement. That is part of the motivation that keeps me going everyday. I’ve received emails from pharmacists and people passionate about medication safety from literally across the world. Just a sample of numerous examples:
A gentleman from Greece emailed me passionate about how to grow clinical pharmacy in his country.
“Thanks to you for your positive public relations campaign! I think we all benefit! Your case studies are interesting and always impart the value and importance of knowing and understanding how medications work and fit together. We are lucky to have you as our colleague! Keep up the great work!”
“I find your case studies presented on MedEd to be interesting and educational for all Pharmacists”
I had a pharmacy student message me that she loved the YouTube videos I’ve put out because it helps her learn English and medications.
“I believe it was about a year ago when I was first introduced to MEDED101 as I was searching for medication-related articles on LinkedIn. The very first topic I came across was dealing with Dilantin toxicity. It talked about the unique pharmacokinetics nature of the drug and how even a modest increase in dose can lead into significant elevation in blood level. It was a short article whose underline message was for clinicians to be extra cautious when managing drugs such as Dilantin that have narrow therapeutic window. Today I admit that I have become addicted to this website where I find it to be a very useful source of information particularly for cases related to drug-drug interaction, drug toxicity and polypharmacy. Thanks Eric for creating such a platform to keep us educated and informed, the minimal tool required for one to making sound clinical decisions in pharmacotherapy.”
I’ve been mentioned or quoted in publications that I would’ve thought impossible to be a part of just a few short years ago. American Journal of Nursing, Pharmacy Today, Pharmacy Times, and you could image my feeling as I was blindsided when a re
porter from the #1 paper in the country (Wall Street Journal) quoted my thoughts on a medication related topic. Keep in mind that this has happened in only about a year and a half.
The downside is whenever you do something you make mistakes, and I’m no different from anyone else. There is a small subsection of people on the Internet that like to (disrespectfully) point those mistakes out. Another downside is that maintaining and growing Med Ed 101 takes a lot of time. My wife and family have been extremely supportive in helping me find that time throughout the day.
What advice would you provide future pharmacists as they begin to look into their various career options?
Continuously put others first. Work very hard. Identify projects or tasks that you enjoyed doing. Find a job (or create your own) that allows you to do those things. Think differently and try new things. Take personal responsibility for your actions and where you are in life.
The Rho Chi Post thanks Dr. Eric Christianson for sharing his experience on his unique contribution to the pharmacy profession!
[pubmed_related keyword1=”pharmacy” keyword2=”medication” keyword3=”management”]