Kim Spencer Builds a Culture of Care at SSM Health

Like any farm child, Kim Spencer acquired from childhood to lend a assisting hand anywhere it was necessary. “I was raised taking care of animals and the land on our farm,” she suggests. “I usually realized that I preferred to be in a caretaking profession, no matter if as a veterinarian, a physician, or some other function.”

For Spencer, pharmacy proved to be the perfect suit. The industry allowed her to incorporate her aptitude for chemistry with a enthusiasm for care that proceeds to drive her to this day. She retains individuals entrance and center in her present role as chief pharmacy officer at SSM Health—a Catholic wellness program with 20-3 hospitals across the Midwest—and, in her time outside of function, prioritizes offering again to her group.

Whilst she experienced no question about her alternative of profession, Spencer admits that she took a circuitous route in her journey to SSM Wellbeing. “When I graduated from pharmacy school, I believed that I would under no circumstances go back to clinic pharmacy,” she states. “I took a occupation at CVS because I assumed that my foreseeable future was in retail pharmacy. I rapidly acquired that was not the circumstance, and inside that initially year, I was back to clinic complete-time.”

Spencer has remained in hospitals at any time given that, but her tasks have diverse broadly. Amid keeping functions supervisor and scientific coordinator positions, she returned numerous instances to the function of scientific pharmacist, often to empower her to be nearer to her spouse and children or to spend much more time with her younger kids. Due to the fact of her very own experiences, she now encourages aspiring pharmacists to toss the notion of a five-12 months strategy out the window. “You really don’t need to have all the solutions,” she says. “It’s all right to want a little something for your lifetime in the instant that is diverse from what you want for your lifestyle 5 or ten many years down the line. Just do what you are accomplishing appropriate now truly properly, and individuals subsequent work opportunities will appear.”

Kim Spencer with Director of Pharmacy Tim Holman and Pharmacy Functions Supervisor Ross Belew. (Photograph by Dave Berliner)

Spencer also advises in opposition to skipping methods to get to the major. “Don’t sense like you need to go straight from resident to supervisor,” she says. “You discover so a lot along the way—not just expert capabilities, but empathy, compassion and sympathy. You understand what your teams are likely through on a each day basis due to the fact you’ve been there.”

A lot of Spencer’s own progress as a chief occurred at Advocate Health and fitness, the massive process exactly where she served as regional vice president of pharmacy expert services just before becoming a member of SSM in 2021. Even though she beloved functioning at Advocate, she couldn’t move up the chance to establish a pharmacy infrastructure—and a supportive workforce culture—from the ground up at her existing employer.

“I was the 1st individual in this job for SSM Well being,” Spencer clarifies. “SSM Wellness has a robust pharmacy record, but before I obtained here, the teams have been possibly ministry-primarily based or regional-based—and, in some situations, a combine of both. I set out to convey all the groups collectively into just one process group and then create the organizational clarity close to that.”

Spencer made an knowing of the existing particular person teams to ensure that they would appear jointly in such a way as to satisfy SSM Health’s unique pharmacy desires. With the comprehensive aid of senior management, not to mention on-the-floor guidance from her six technique pharmacy leaders, she standardized key elements of systemwide pharmacy functions whilst leaving web-site-distinct workflows in the hands of frontline groups.

Kim Spencer. SSM Health
Kim Spencer with pharmacist Mariah Freeman. (Photograph by Dave Berliner)

And between their lots of achievements more than the previous few yrs, Spencer and her group have founded an antimicrobial stewardship application, championed the rules of high reliability inside of SSM Health, and embarked on a sophisticated initiative to keep an eye on and control the full affected individual lifecycle as it relates to pharmacy. In each and every endeavor, Spencer has maintained a clear emphasis on patient care. That target furthermore informs her tactic to management, which sees her engage with her crew from a place of transparency, vulnerability, and curiosity.

“Culture is my highest precedence,” she says. “I want just about every individual on my team to truly feel valued, respected, and inspired to aid just about every other in their day-to-day roles. If every person feels that way, we’re going to provide definitely outstanding treatment.”

Spencer carries her efforts to support some others into the local community as well. In addition to giving brief-expression treatment through the firm Harmless Family members, she and her partner, a theologian, became accredited foster mom and dad to support neighborhood children in have to have. This support, like her vocation in pharmacy, is about executing what she can to make a distinction.

“To me, fostering is just an additional element of healthcare mainly because the mental and physical wellbeing of these kids is so crucial. It’s an extension of my get the job done as a pharmacist, and it also matches with our faith,” says Spencer. “We’re not switching the environment, but hopefully we’re shifting one lifetime at a time.”

Lumicera Overall health Products and services congratulates Kim Spencer for getting a leader in healthcare pharmacy and a single of our government sponsors for our overall health technique specialty pharmacy division with SSM Overall health. In our partnerships, we supply true-globe operational and scientific excellence to aid mature well being system specialty pharmacies. With our portfolio of nationwide providers, we can deliver technology alternatives, accreditation, operational and contractual support, and very rated medical skills to accelerate a method as a result of progress or expansion of specialty pharmacy services and small business options.

Visante is a specialized consulting company focused on assisting overall health techniques speed up robust financial and operational performance by way of pharmacy. Our crew of industry experts provides deep, present-day experience and innovation to optimizing all facets of a fully built-in wellbeing system pharmacy application, driving considerable value quickly. We companion with shoppers to elevate their 340B compliance and optimization, specialty pharmacy and infusion services, pharmacy revenue cycle, consolidated pharmacy provider facilities, and additional. By furnishing customized remedies to in shape the requirements of our purchasers, we supply sustained economical results via profits progress, value savings, certain compliance, and exceptional enterprise general performance.

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