INTERVIEW WITH MICKE BROWN, RN – QUESTION #5
Dr. Lynn Webster [Dr. Webster]: Hello, this is Dr. Lynn Webster. Thank you for listening to this Pain Topics series of interviews on LynnWebsterMD.com. Today I am joined by Micke Brown, the Corporate Secretary & Steering Committee Chair of ThePainCommunity.org. Micke is a registered nurse with experience in clinical advisement, communications, consumer and health care professional education, advocacy and business management. Thank you for joining me today, Micke.
Micke, my question for you today is, ‘what are the key elements to initiating a social movement as called for by the Institute of
Medicine to lead to a cultural transformation for pain?’
Micke Brown [Micke]: I’m pretty opinionated about this one. I really do feel that, especially in the pain field, that the pain field could actually be one of the leaders in helping to reform our healthcare system. I just really think that it requires a major shift in how we care for one another in our nation. I think we’ve kind of lost our way.
I think the first step is to really admit that our current healthcare system is not just flawed but it is broken and that we need to start questioning who’s benefitting for the way it is right now and why? Because to me, I think that healthcare at one time used to be rooted in healing and I feel that that has been lost. Even clinicians need to see themselves, I think, in an entirely different way. Lynn, you and I talked about this before, that we need to really focus that if you’re going to be a healer, not someone who cures but helps heal, you have to not only lead the way but heal alongside with your patients and that requires for you to have time and ability to know these people. When I was a young pup, I knew my family practice physician very, very well. He knew my family. In fact, when I used to go to the doctor’s office even though I was afraid of him – I hid under the bed from him once, in fact – he would know little things about me, even the name of my dog and when I was older and graduated from high school, I actually got the work with him for a while. He is the one that got me into nursing school, in fact, and I used to think that he had little crib notes in the chart about all these little details that he knew about me and I knew with the other patients he knew because I would hear him. He didn’t. He had relationships with these people and so he knew them, and we’ve lost that for a variety of reasons and we really need to get that back. Not just for regular care but definitely for pain care. You cannot treat pain if you don’t have time to understand not only what might be going on but what that person’s life is all about and how you can work with them and they can work with you in trying to turn things around for them. That requires caring and listening. We need to be more forthcoming in our ability to share information with one another. You and I both know that healthcare professionals aren’t really the best at communicating with one another and that has to change, and we have to be able and willing to work as a team with the patient in the center in working really hard, and these need to be coordinated. This takes some time and effort. I realized that a lot of people in the insurance industry are another to say, “Oh my God, this is going to cost so much money.” But I really feel strongly that if you put the cost up front, it might be a little bit higher than what we are doing right now but the investment on the long haul is going the make it all worthwhile as far as successful outcomes because the way we’re doing it now is not working. We need focus. We need commitment and we need to roll up our sleeves and work really hard to change this or it’s going to stay the same.
Dr. Webster: So, would you be optimistic, pessimistic or are you uncertain at this time that we can achieve that transformation that’s called on?
Micke: Knowing the people that I know that are working in this part of the field, I am optimistic because I know there are so many wonderful people that really see and they get it. I don’t want the other guys to win. So my competitive nature comes out. I just really feel that you are starting to see changes as far as healthcare in general, and I think that if we’re wise and we can say, okay, ‘let us be the demonstration project to prove it to you,’ I think it would be a golden opportunity for the pain field to really make not only a major contribution in how we care for people with pain but also how we care for people.
Dr. Webster: Thank you, Micke, and thanks again for listening to this Pain Topics interview on LynnWebsterMD.com.
If you aren’t already, please follow me on Twitter @LynnRWebsterMD. Also, stay tuned to my blog for more information about my upcoming book and documentary titled The Painful Truth, to be released this fall. Have a great day!
Ms. Brown is a nationally known pain management nurse and experienced patient advocate. In March 2013, she was invited to join a team at the University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy as the program director to coordinate the grant activities related to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), entitled “Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) Emergency Preparedness Plan”. This grant was issued by the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to cover the period of March 15, 2013 through March 14, 2018. Mary Lynn McPherson PharmD, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and Kathryn L. Walker, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor serve as the principal investigators (PI); together this team works closely with the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration (BHA), expert advisers from the medical fields of pain management, substance use and mental health disorders along with local health departments and affected communities who experience an abrupt loss of a CDS prescriber.
Brown also serves as the Corporate Secretary of the Board of Directors and Team Coordinator for The Pain Community (TPC), a non-profit, consumer-focused pain organization based out of Alamo, California. Using her experience and commitment to quality pain care, she is working with other TPC volunteers to develop this national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build and strengthen an active, diverse and energized community of people affected by pain by providing a foundation of support where education, wellness information and advocacy are promoted. She is the former Director of Communications & Consumer Education for American Pain Foundation (APF) and Past President of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN).
Micke Brown is a registered pain management nurse, who received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville, along with advanced credentials in acute pain management from Schumpert Medical Center, Shreveport, Louisiana. Ms. Brown has more than 35 years experience in nursing, with 20 years in the specialty of pain management. Her career as a pain management nurse and pain advocate has included caring for and educating individuals and their families living with pain, training health care professionals about pain management and speaking out for those affected by pain in the media, during legislative hearings and with other decision makers about issues that impede access to quality pain care.
Her contributions to the American Pain Foundation (APF) were extensive. Ms. Brown helped develop and guide communications as well as educational services that provided key information for APF members and the general public while also serving as the clinical advisor to APF staff and volunteers. Micke’s advocacy work included working closely with the FDA safe use initiative on patient-provider agreements, presenting to a variety of professional and consumer audiences, (e.g. serving on a panel with the DEA, lecturing with representatives from the DOD and the VA alongside injured veterans at national meetings, co-presented with pain advocates living with pain), collaborating with staff from the National Institutes of Health (NNCAM) in the development of safe use education for complementary-alternative medicines and leading stakeholder meetings on breakthrough cancer pain.
Micke has contributed to the medical literature as co-author for the chapter on social, political and ethical forces that impact pain management nursing practice published in the 2010 edition of ASPMN Core Curriculum, a chapter about navigating pain care for the older adult for Gloth’s 2011 edition Handbook of Pain Relief in Older Adults, An Evidence-Based Approach and another that covers educating patients and caregivers about pain management for the clinician in Moore’s 2012 Handbook of Pain and Palliative Care.
Ms. Brown has volunteered on several non-profit boards: the Maryland Pain Initiative (MPI), Hospice of Washington County (Maryland), and was elected as the 2003-2004 president of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), a professional organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of optimal nursing care for people affected by pain. In 2006, she was honored with Richard S. Weiner Pain Education Fund Advocacy for People with Pain Award from the American Academy of Pain Management which is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to assisting and advocating for people with pain.