Kendra Sheppard, MD, CMD - Why AMDA is a Necessity for Me
For Kendra Sheppard, MD, MSPH, CMD, AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA) is as important as a comfortable pair of shoes on a long walk or a good night’s sleep before a grueling trip. Her membership prepares her, supports her, enables her, guides her, and accompanies her on her journeys. “It’s important to have an organization where people are practicing in the same setting as I am. I don’t think people really ‘get’ post-acute and long-term care unless they work in this field. With AMDA, I get the feeling that I’m home. I get the education, tools, information, and contacts I need.” She adds, “The advocacy is another key piece. AMDA is a strong, savvy, and leading advocate on the national front, not just for us but for our patients. This is invaluable.”
Time is precious for Dr. Sheppard, and her membership also saves her from having to reinvent the wheel on educational materials for her staff and students. “I do a lot of teaching, and I find AMDA materials, such as clinical practice guidelines and annual conference handouts, to be useful.” She said that she can use Power Points directly from AMDA programs to teach nurses and others. “I’m able to give them information that they don’t have already and that has practical application for their work,” Dr. Sheppard says. Elsewhere, she notes, “I’ve been able to use AMDA programs and materials on transitions of care to help internal medicine residents understand what happens to patients after they leave the hospital.”
Dr. Sheppard is pleased that AMDA offers webinars and other online learning opportunities. “We have a lot of mom and pop operations; and for those rural practitioners who can’t afford the time or expense to travel for education, online learning provides them with excellent content that they can access at their convenience.” She adds, “These opportunities, especially the online Core Curriculum, open doors and help us get even more people on the medical director track. They also help attending physicians and others to be more effective in dealing with challenges such as antipsychotic use, weight loss, and managing younger patients.”
Thanks to AMDA, Dr. Sheppard has friends “all over the country,” and “the annual conference is like a family reunion.” Last year in Louisville, she encountered a fellow resident physician who had trained her when she was an intern several years ago. She says, “We keep in touch on social media, but I didn’t realize that she’d be at the AMDA conference. It turns out that she is just getting into long-term care and geriatrics. She was excited about the conference and all of the learning opportunities.”
Dr. Sheppard was pleased to see her old friend at the conference and encourages others who are new to the field to discover AMDA. “In this environment, regulations, trends, and care standards are ever changing. Your career will be hurt in the long run if you’re practicing in post-acute/long-term care (PALTC) and you’re not an AMDA member. You need to know more than the medicine. You must know the regulations and payment issues; and you need to be part of the group that advocates for PALTC physicians and ensures that we have a seat at the table,” said Dr. Sheppard.
Every patient has a special place in Dr. Sheppard’s heart. “I take it hard when we lose a patient. But I have the satisfaction of knowing that I made sure that he or she got the best possible care until the end and that each person exits this world with comfort and dignity.”