Monday, July 8, 2013

A taste of education

This morning I had the opportunity to attend a Medical Training meeting and product overview on various Diabetes, BioPharm, and Hemophilia products. I am not  100% sure on the audience’s department  as everyone introduced themselves quickly, but I got the understanding that the attendees were from marketing, but that they did company marketing rather than working with the sales reps of the products. This was later confirmed when basic questions about differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were asked and in particular about the insulin pens we were discussing—questions that sales reps should have down cold as they are the ones who are out in the field trying to get product sold. The presentation was conducted by people who work within medical information, a team of pharmacists that specialize in responding to health care providers about Novo’s products. Therefore, they need to be thoroughly educated in the not only the products, but also the conditions, products in the pipeline, and competitor’s products. I know I am not interested in becoming part of the Medical Information team as I have zero interest in going to pharmacy school, but the experience did expose me to a type of education within this company that I have been dying to see.

It was astonishing to me that employees of this company were not aware of concepts such as gestational diabetes or insulin pump therapy or the differing types of people that live with the 3 main types of diabetes. It showed me that diabetes education is needed more than I think it is. It’s made me think today that I take my 18 years of growing knowledge for granted. That I know a lot more than I think I do even though I’m learning I need to learn more. I found myself taking notes on concepts I already knew, but writing them down in the presenter’s words—as I am trying to work on my medical vocabulary here. If I want to educate others later on down the road, I need to have the basic vocab so people believe what I am saying, and I need to be able to say it with confidence so my patients believe me. So I’m learning different ways to say the same thing. “My body doesn’t all that it needs to digest my food” is basically trying to say as “Due to an autoimmune deficiency in my body, my pancreas  lacks the ability to secrete insulin, a hormone, that is needed to bind to receptors in the bloodstream to get glucose out  and into the cells to prevent a buildup of glucose and maintain stable blood sugars.” The later sounds a bit better, so I’m practicing when people ask me about my diabetes, to respond in an educated manner.

I even got to do some teaching today, sharing my experiences using the Novo Flex Pen with the safe, one time use needles that once inserted into the patient are safely closed automatically. My trouble with using this pen on patients in the hospital is that as the care provider, you are unable to determine if the needle has gone through the skin,as it is covered by a plastic safety cover, so I found myself asking patients, “ Did you feel that?” to ensure I had administered the medication. That would be absolutely horrible if you just pushed the button thinking the injection was administered, but the needle had not gone through. It was comforting that others had this same worry and it was interesting to discuss.
At one point, the presenter discussed why the Novo twist off needle for only Novo pens was not being promoted by the company anymore and other the regular needle made to fit any company’s product was the main product to promote. Apparently, the company was losing money while promoting due to the popularity of the former product even though this product was in fact safer as it securely fastens on and ensures the patient of so by a loud click in place preventing wobbly needles and fear that the medication was not administered. It bummed me out to hear “because we were losing money”. I haven’t taken enough business classes to fully appreciate the money making side of companies… to me, it’s all about patient care, and if the twist off needle is the safest, I want you to tell me so regardless if your company doesn’t make an extra couple million. I guess this is why I should just stay at the bedside and not in aim to sit in a pantsuit behind a CEO desk.

I also enjoyed learning more about NovoSeven, Novo’s drug to treat Hemophilia in patient’s that have clotting disorders. Basically the drug works to activate the extrinsic pathway clotting cascade at Factor 7 to help the cascade in Factor 8 or 9 depending on the type of Hemophilia that is needed to create a fibrin plug in the bloodstream to stop bleeding, something that these patients have an inability to do.
I got to get hands on experience with Novo’s products today, and it exposed me to a different side of the company. I know that not everyone in this company works behind computers all day staring at Clinical Trial Reports and making Subject ID bookmarks, so it was uplifting to know that there are people who are educating others on why this company exists- to make these products to change patient’s lives. At the end of the day, that is why everyone here comes to work. I was surprised with the lack of knowledge in the company’s products and the conditions they are used to treat among the employees I was with and wish that they would do basic training to ensure a companywide competency in understanding.

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