Plano Pharmacist Earns Faces of LifeCare Award

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When Karla Keese, RPh, MBA, was working on developing an insulin medication administration record (MAR) to help diabetic patients at LifeCare Hospitals of Plano, she had no idea the impact it would have on the organization.

Turns out, it was a big one!

Karla was nominated for one of the first-ever Faces of LifeCare Awards and selected to represent the value CREATE It, which is defined as:

We welcome change, encourage innovation from everyone and continually seek better, more efficient ways to live out our cause. We will never be satisfied with yesterday’s headlines or the way we’ve always done it. We think outside the box and apply creative ideas to meet unique patient needs and solve business problems.  We are inquisitive and we challenge the status quo for the good of our patients and the company.

Karla, who has been a pharmacist for 36 years and has 15 years of service at LifeCare, is humbled to receive the award.

“I know there are some really good employees in this company because I work with a lot of them,” she said. “I like to look for better ways to do things. Sometimes that means using things developed by others, sometimes it means you have to develop it yourself. Team input is valuable. I don’t think anything worthwhile is created in a vacuum.”

The Pulse caught up with her to learn more about her background and how she strives to CREATE It every day at LifeCare.

What did you want to be as a kid and how did you ultimately choose your career?
I was always a science and math-oriented kid (yes, I was the nerdy one). I wanted medicine as a career because helping and serving others was part of my faith in my upbringing. Pharmacy was a good fit for me when I was deciding upon a career.

What do you like best about being a Pharmacist?
I like variety in my job. Hospital pharmacy especially gives you the ability to work with different forms of medication, a variety of health issues in a patient population and the freedom to develop new ideas with the support of other health care disciplines.

What do you enjoy most about working at LifeCare?
The people I work with, hands down!

How do you strive to live our values?
Our values are simply a way of taking charge and accepting responsibility of living your life. Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe and sometimes you have to go with what others are advocating. Using discretion is important.

What are ways you aim to CREATE It?
I try to ask my director if there are projects that need to be done. We often tweak our work in small ways to try and improve patient care or find ways to do more with less.

Listening is often the easiest way to find out what people want and need, but it is also the most difficult thing to do. Change is hard and most people do not like to face it. If something is needed, you are more likely to have success.

Also, ask the right questions. I am not always good at that one, but if you ask a lot of questions, you are more apt to come across the “real” problem. Then see if there are skills around to access to look at fixing the problem.

Why do you think it’s important to come to work every day and demonstrate our values?
You never know what you are going to come across. I did not think an insulin MAR would be a big deal. I just knew it was needed by our part of the organization. If you respond and work on enough solutions, you make the world a better place. I believe the world is helped one person at a time.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the working relationships the Pharmacy has with other departments. There is always a yin-yang between departments since you see things from a different perspective, but acknowledging that and trying to see things from the other side, not only helps the organization as a whole, but also helps when you are trying to get your perspective across.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I play with my dog Stormy and visit with my family.

What’s one thing most people might not know about you?
I am a glass artist. I have a kiln in my garage and create beautiful pieces of art. I also work on a mission team that gives away eyeglasses to those who cannot afford them.

What’s a saying or motto you try to live by?
My dad was a football coach. He taught me that “some you win, some you lose, and some are called on account of rain.” I use that as a life guideline. It helps you celebrate, get through life’s hard times, and meet disappointment.

Congratulations, Karla! We’re so proud of you.

Nominations for the 2019 Faces of LifeCare Award cycle are now open. All associates are eligible to participate. To nominate an outstanding co-worker, click here to complete the form, including specific examples of how the co-worker exemplifies a particular LifeCare value. Nominations will be accepted through the end of the year, and 2019 award winners will be announced in 2020.

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