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2015 Future of Pharmacy: Michelle Berresheim

Michelle BerresheimMichelle Berresheim
Clinical Practice Leader, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital
Alberta Health Services
Grande Prairie

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Michelle is one of three 2014-2015 Future of Pharmacy award winners. She demonstrates passion, enthusiasm, and initiative within the pharmacy profession. As a Clinical Pharmacist at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Michelle has been providing clinical care on an interdisciplinary team in the intensive care and surgery units. Michelle believes that her choice of career manifested naturally: “I have always had a passion for human interaction and helping people. Pairing that with my interest in health care and my detail oriented nature – a career in pharmacy seemed like an obvious choice.”

Michelle believes that excellence in pharmacy practice means providing each patient with the individualized care that is best for them. “I remind myself that the right care isn’t going to be the same for every patient and that, as a health care professional, I need to listen to each patient in order to understand what their needs and goals are.” Michelle adds, “The most rewarding patient interactions are the ones where I leave knowing the patient (or their caregiver) feels like he/she had a voice.  It is rewarding to know that I helped them take part in setting their health-related goals and the management of their own health care.”

When asked what the best “pharmacy-related” advice Michelle has received and has passed on to other colleagues, she lists:

  1. Patients are never going to remember how you adjusted their vancomycin level, but they are going to remember how you made them feel.
  2. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not learning.

Michelle has established a patient-centred focus, both in her own practice and in her support of the practices of her colleagues. “One of the things I love most about this profession is that you get out what you put in, regardless of where you work or what your title is.”

Michelle is inspired by her patients, colleagues, and mentors. As she strives towards her future practice, she would like to continue to develop her direct patient care practice and to motivate others in the profession to think outside the box and challenge themselves. “I find that the biggest drivers for my professional growth are the people I am surrounded by: patients, colleagues, and mentors.” Michelle finds working in direct patient care to be very rewarding. “I have been very fortunate during my training and my short career to work with a number of mentors who have both inspired me and helped to shape the clinician that I am becoming. I am lucky now, to be able to work with a number of these mentors in some capacity. The people I am surrounded by in my career are a big part of what inspires me to grow professionally.”

Michelle has been actively involved in several initiatives that demonstrate commitment and dedication to patient care. She provides training and development opportunities for rural practitioners, organized peer learning groups, has helped outline a new model for advanced clinical skills training in rural locations, and is now facilitating a discussion group for rural practitioners interested in pursuing their Additional Prescribing Authorization. Michelle defines the ideal role model of today’s practicing pharmacist and she continues to strive for excellence in the profession.