Nancy Smith teaches patients how disease can be an opportunity

Nancy Smith graduated with a BS in nutrition from Auburn University and received her master's degree in nutrition from Mississippi State University. Throughout the years, she has gained the titles of registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator? (CDE). She has been a dietitian for 17 years and a CDE for 14 years. With this extensive history in the pharma field and her advanced knowledge of it, Nancy was the perfect candidate to become a Clinical Educator for VMS BioMarketing. Nancy brings her expertise to help patients with diabetes and osteoporosis initiate new treatment regimen via inhalation or injection.

"I have the privilege of introducing patients to therapy that can be life changing, improve their quality of life and allow the them to have the best possible outcomes. Through having a conversation with me about their therapy, they can be at ease to ask any questions and receive the support necessary to help them stay on therapy."

Nancy?s grandfather had diabetes and passed away from the disease when she was a teenager. Seeing his struggle to understand and stay on therapy sparked a desire to help make education and treatment easier for those with diabetes. This passion led Nancy to help people with any chronic disease and use her knowledge to change lives.

?A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of educating a patient who needed and was ready for a change in her diabetes regimen, but she was nervous and overwhelmed to make the shift. I was able to sit with her, take time for her to ask questions and vocalize her concerns. After answering questions, I could tell the patient felt better and was confident in starting this new therapy. I was elated to hear from her physician that the patient made the change successfully, achieved the best A1C she ever had, was less worried about controlling her blood sugars because this therapy was much easier for her to manage, and she had more energy throughout the day. Results are what I strive for; I know I had a hand in changing her life in a positive way.?

Nancy loves the work she does for VMS for many reasons. To her, one of the best parts of the job is being able to be on everyone?s team; she also enjoys working with physicians and is a trusted resource when they don?t have the time to counsel their patients. She finds that when patients feel they are important and that someone cares enough to listen and explain the disease, the sickness becomes an opportunity instead of a burden.

Since joining the VMS team, Nancy enjoys the freedom and effectiveness that comes with the job. ?The opportunity to work with VMS has been a blessing to me because it allows me to excel in my career while also giving me time to pour into other important areas of my life,? she said. ?The atmosphere at VMS is refreshing. From top the top down, I truly feel that I am an important part of the team. VMS understands the pharma business and they know the value of partnering with educators, like me, to educate and empower patients and make a difference.?",Smith Nancy - small.jpg,1,Caroline Gauss,21,1 23,Lisa Hanhauser: working for VMS has been the best two years of my career,Lisa Hanhauser, MS, RD, CDE is a certified diabetes educator and licensed dietitian. She obtained her BS in nutrition from West Virginia University and her MS in management from the University of Florida. She has worked as a dietitian for 10 years and joined the VMS team in 2014 where she provides injection training and disease education.

How does the education you provide have a positive impact on a patient?s ability to start and stay on therapy?
In my experience, patients feel more empowered to stay on therapy because they have a ?cheerleader? on their side. Many patients have told me that sitting down with me and having the therapy re-explained has helped their understanding and compliance with not just the medicine but with their disease as a whole. It?s not uncommon for a patient to say, ?None of this has ever been explained to me before!? When patients experience those ?ah ha!? moments, I know that they will succeed!

How does what you do make it easier for physicians to prescribe a therapy that may be complex?
Doctors are often going over so much information with the patient that the last thing they have time to do is provide detailed instructions about an injectable medication. It?s much easier for a physician to say, ?We?re going to start you on something new. Here is Lisa to explain it all.? Patients have so many questions when starting a new drug, and allowing an educator to be a part of the experience is invaluable to both the physician and patient.

How do you feel about partnering with pharma companies to provide patient education?
I feel this a great way to get in front of a patient. In my previous job, I would contact patients when their physicians would send a referral for education. A lot of times, patients would say, ?Oh, I?ve looked up some stuff on the internet. I?m ok.? Our programs are a great catalyst for talking about behavior change. When I say, ?Let me show you how to use the medicine and explain how it works,? it allows me to display my expertise and gain trust from the patient. It?s amazing how much more receptive they are to talking about diet and exercise with their new ?expert educator.?

What first motivated you to become a Clinical Educator?
When I was little, I always wanted to be teacher but, as I got older, I developed a love for nutrition and wellness, so I pursued a degree in nutrition and became a registered dietitian. This has allowed me to combine my two loves in life: teaching and nutrition.

Describe one technique that makes you effective as a Clinical Educator?
I open all of my education sessions with ?how are you today?? and/or ?What questions do you have before we get started?? When they tell me about themselves, it gives me insight on their level of understanding and current motivation for behavior change, allowing me to tailor my education sessions to their needs, lifestyle, and current understanding of the disease.

What is the best part of being a Clinical Educator?
Having that one-on-one contact with patients and following them through their journey to better living is a true honor. It is so exciting when patients achieve that ?ah ha? moment! I love watching the light bulb turn on and helping people change their lives forever! Working for VMS has been the best two years of my career!

What attracted you to work with VMS BioMarketing specifically?
VMS truly is a family ? and a smart one at that! I remember when I was first hired; I was listening to Neal, the owner, give a speech and introduction into the company and I remember him saying, ?Surround yourself with smart and good people and smart and good work will come.? This statement has always made me feel a sense of trust and safety with the company, which is not easy to find these days.

What does VMS do better than other pharma service-providers you may have worked for?
VMS partners with their clients and strategically aligns our goals with their goals. This is important because we aren?t just providing a service and hitting numbers but overall working for the greater good and ultimate goal of helping patients.

Why should a pharma or biotech company choose to work with VMS?
Because we have the hardest working and smartest staff to be found!