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Profile of a Community Outreach Entrepreneur: DeeAnn Wedemeyer-Oleson

DeeAnn Wedemeyer Oleson, Pharm.D., C.G.P.
Director of Pharmacy
Diabetes Education Instructor
Guthrie County Hospital
Guthrie Center, IA 

“Even the things you take for granted weren’t there.” DeeAnn Wedemeyer Oleson started from scratch at her practice in the 25 bed critical access Guthrie County Hospital. A 1999 Drake College of Pharmacy graduate, she completed a geriatric specialty residency then returned to her home state of Iowa.

When she took the job in 2000 the Guthrie County Hospital pharmacy department consisted of a community pharmacist in the hospital a few hours a week to check stock and order supplies. Now, in 2005, her rural Iowa hospital practice is flourishing with two full time pharmacists providing clinical services inpatient and outpatient. DeeAnn’s persistence without regard to resources shows her true entrepreneurial spirit. DeeAnn says, “I would like to think we are an example for other small hospitals. You don’t have to lack services. You don’t have to have suboptimal services because you’re small.”

Every month DeeAnn serves as an educator for the hospital’s diabetes course. Community members who are newly diagnosed or need a refresher can join the class three hours per week for three weeks and learn all about their diabetes. The interdisciplinary approach is a pharmacist, nurse, dietician and the local dentist, podiatrist, and optometrist teaming up for the course in person or by videotape.

DeeAnn also provides admission medication histories, kinetics dosing services, participates in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs, anticoagulation monitoring, and education in the healthy seniors clinic. When asked if she sees herself as innovative she says, “outpatient, yes, definitely. You’re not going to find many pharmacists involved in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs and in terms of collaborative practice for diabetes and geriatrics. Inpatient, I don’t know that we’re innovative, I think we’re progressive compared to other rural hospitals our size.”

Visit DeeAnn’s column “The Smallest Corner” at PharmacyPracticeNews.com.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Analysis:

How is DeeAnn’s practice an example of entrepreneurial leadership?
When she was presented the opportunity of redesigning the pharmacy services at Guthrie County Hospital DeeAnn saw the potential for new revenue and better patient care. She persevered through a traditional small budget for pharmacy staff in a small rural hospital and developed innovative programming for the community.

How did DeAnn acquire the necessary resources?
Over the past few years DeeAnn has employed a variety of strategies to ensure that she obtained the resources necessary to provide the services in her venture. She leveraged the new regulations on pharmacy practice in hospitals with the hospital administration. She also drew from community support of her services and partnered with other health care professionals to validate the benefits.

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