| Next Generation

Alexandra L. McPherson, PharmD, MPH

I firmly believe that if you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

GPS Washington, DC

Typical Day There really is no “typical” day. Often, the day begins with sit-down rounds to provide pertinent clinical updates, assign responsibility for new consults and follow up visits, and bounce ideas off our colleagues regarding complex cases. The rest of the day is spent seeing patients at the bedside, facilitating family meetings, and presenting/participating in didactic lectures, workshops, and journal clubs with the team, fellows, and other learners. When I wrap up for the day, I head home to walk my two dogs, work out, and make dinner with my husband. (Side note: if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you need one!)

Persona I firmly believe that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Throughout my training, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by influential and innovative thought leaders who have helped pave the way for future leaders such as myself. As I embark upon my first “real” job, I believe it is my resiliency, persistence, belief in the team approach, and genuine desire to advance the practices of pain management and palliative care that will position me to be a key opinion leader of the next generation.

Contribution When done correctly, palliative care is an example of how all medicine should be conducted. Individualized, patient centered, quality care that honors the values, beliefs, and experiences which have led the patient to this point in their life. I’m most proud when I’m able to make recommendations that alleviate a patient’s symptoms and improve their quality of life for whatever quantity remains.

People I’m sure it will come as no surprise when I say the person I most admire is my mother, Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson. She is, without question, the hardest working person I know and she truly embodies the concept of lifelong learning. This, coupled with the fact that she’s an undeniably dynamic speaker, has allowed her to develop a cult-like following. I can only hope that all those years of her driving me to field hockey practice while performing methadone calculations on speakerphone osmosed into my brain! A close runner up is my PGY-2 Residency Program Director turned mentor, colleague, and friend, Dr. Kathryn Walker, who serves as the MedStar Health System Senior Clinical Director for Palliative Care. She makes the impossible possible and is always one step ahead, strategizing ideas to help those in her network.

Words Having just completed two years of residency, I’m looking forward to having the free time to read things besides guidelines and peer-reviewed journal articles. In my time off over the summer, I read the Kevin Kwan trilogy (great beach reads!). Other favorites are Tuesdays with Morrie, The Help, Tiny Beautiful Things, and anything by Brené Brown.

Popcorn My favorite movie is Father of the Bride. I know (and will recite) every single word, Franck accent and all. Another favorite is Bridesmaids, which never fails to make me laugh, and in the spirit of Halloween, Hocus Pocus is an oldie but a goodie. Favorite Podcasts: The Curbsiders, GeriPal, Dear Sugars, Rise, 10% Happier.

PAINWeek PAINWeek provides an unparalleled opportunity to expand the breadth and depth of your knowledge base across all areas of pain management. It’s also a great place to reconnect with old colleagues, meet new people, and build your network.