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Diving into the World of ASHP Publishing

Smart Infusion Pumps Author Shares Her Experience

Jun 14, 2011

PAMELA PHELPS, PHARM.D., FASHP, started down the path to becoming a book author and editor with a simple realization. While at ASHP’s 2007 Regional Delegate meeting in Chicago, she and a few colleagues were discussing the needs of their profession.

It dawned on me that a lot of people faced problems with infusion pumps,”  said Phelps, the director of clinical pharmacy services for Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis. “I suggested that some guidance for pharmacists on implementing smart pump technology would be helpful.”

Word of Phelps’s idea reached ASHP’s Special Publishing Group, which had already been looking into the feasibility of publishing a book on the topic, according to Jack Bruggeman, ASHP’s director of special publishing. The two met later the same year at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas, where Bruggeman asked Phelps if she would like to edit a book on smart infusion technology.

“I thought it would be an exciting challenge, so I said yes,” Phelps recalled. She submitted a proposal to ASHP, whose experts reviewed it. After some revisions, the Society approved the proposal, offered Phelps a contract, and set a timeline.  “I went into the project with a combination of trepidation and excitement,” said Phelps, “and I didn’t really know what I was in for, how long it would take, or exactly what the process involved.”

A Long, Rewarding Process

Phelps estimates she wrote about one-third of Smart Infusion Pumps: Implementation, Management, and Drug Libraries, but that was probably the least stressful aspect of her charge—she likes to write, does so quickly, and had previously written journal articles and a book chapter. A much greater test was recruiting and working with contributors—all 19 of them.

Phelps identified colleagues who were very familiar with smart infusion systems and perhaps in the midst of  implementing the technology. Ideally, they had already written on the topic. “That was the hardest part,” according to Phelps. “You have to choose contributors who know the topic well and who understand what it takes to do the job. They also have to be very reliable and know that they have to meet deadlines.”

Throughout the project, Phelps found ASHP’s Special Publishing Group to be supportive and encouraging as its members walked her through unfamiliar territory. The group functions just like a commercial publisher, providing editorial guidance throughout the process, calling on experts to review chapter drafts and suggest modifications, handling copyright issues, checking tables and charts for clarity and precision, managing layout and design, and coordinating production, launch, and marketing.

“We really handle all of the routine work of publishing,” said Bruggeman. “Most ASHP members have no idea what the process is like to partner with ASHP in publishing, but we try to make it as painless as possible.”

An Independent  Guide to Infusion Technology

In January, ASHP published Smart Infusion Pumps: Implementation, Management, and Drug Libraries, the first independent book devoted to the use of smart pumps. Seeing the finished product, according to Phelps, was “fulfilling, extremely exciting, and rewarding. I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I was also very relieved to find that the book is considered a much-needed resource.”

Jack Bruggeman, ASHP's director of special publishing

Sales are off to a good start, and most of the profits will be funneled back to fund other ASHP activities, including future book development. Phelps, like all Special Publishing authors, will earn a percentage on each book sold. Bruggeman notes, however, that the compensation is usually not substantial when measured against the hours invested. The greater motivation for authors and editors of ASHP publications is the satisfaction of contributing to their profession, Bruggeman said.

“Before this publication, there was no independent guide to smart infusion technology,” he said. “It has resonated with members because it fills that specific need, and it is quite an accomplishment that anyone associated with the book should enjoy.”

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