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How Employees With Careers in Nursing Are Critical at Merck

By: 3BL Media

Nurses' clinical expertise and patient experience provide valuable insight across all divisions of our company

SOURCE: Merck & Co., Inc.


Nurses do vital work every day. The care they provide makes a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families.

“Nurses are trained to serve as patients’ advocates in the health care setting,” said Jan Nissen, vice president, patient innovation & engagement within population health & sustainability.

“Having nurses on our team helps strengthen our focus on the patient experience.”
- Jan Nissen

A sincere desire to help patients

From product safety and labeling to marketing, clinical operations and medical affairs, Merck employs hundreds of registered nurses in non-clinical positions.

“Nurses are a valuable resource to our company in terms of their real-world patient experience, clinical expertise and talent,” said Mary Elmer, executive director, patient innovation & engagement. “They bring important perspectives to our business.”

That’s why Nissen and Elmer, both nurses themselves, created the Merck Nurses Network, a voluntary group of nurses who work across functions and roles throughout the company. Its mission is to harness the collective knowledge of nurses to provide meaningful insight across the business, even beyond their day jobs.

“The network is a great way for peers to connect and share experiences and learnings, always with a focus on patients,” said Elmer.

"Nurses share a special bond. There is true camaraderie between us fueled by a sincere desire to help patients."
- Mary Elmer, Executive director, patient innovation & engagement

The nurses’ diverse backgrounds and skillsets – surgical, oncology, primary care, pediatrics, among others – also allow for valuable insight overall and targeted support when needed in a specific area of focus.

“We’ve been able to leverage our network to support other needs of the company – for example, by providing input in manufacturing or other decisions that impact patients,” said Nissen. “Our nurses have even provided critical support to our employee health department in special situations, such as helping to ensure business continuity during the current public health emergency.”

Nurses at Merck are critical to our work

Here are four ways employees use their nursing expertise to make clinical and non-clinical impact:

Drug delivery development
Providing input on early design models for our product teams to create user-friendly devices as well as easy to understand accompanying patient education materials.

Package design
Supporting human factor testing, which focuses on the interactions between people and the product, by providing perspective on the the end-user experience of patients and the health care professionals who give our products to patients.

Communications materials
Providing personal and professional perspectives, including how patients and their families digest health information, cultural sensitivities, and other insights, so we deliver health literate information that is clear for the people who use our products.

Clinical support
Mobilizing teams of nurses to assist our employee health department, including stepping away from their non-clinical day jobs to provide critical support and help prevent disruption in business activities.

Our colleagues share their thoughts on being nurses at Merck:

“The experience I gained at the bedside, teaching nursing students, working on end-of-life care teams and conducting research allows me to discover gaps in patient care and scientific knowledge that cannot be gained through classrooms alone.”
- Esther Laury, Ph.D., R.N., associate director, outcomes research, health care delivery research

"With Merck's vast resources and patient-centric values, I'm empowered as an educational agent with valuable tools to help patients. Merck has always been committed to science and education . . . it’s a perfect organization for a nurse to thrive in."
- Kathy McKeon, R.N., M.P.H., senior corporate account executive

"With a history of cancer in my family, I became a nurse to try to understand why so many Black Americans die from this disease. I now get to teach physicians about our medications and hope to help make a difference in the lives of people living with cancer."
- Cynthia Thompson, R.N., M.S.N., customer manager, sales

"I've been at Merck for 25 years, but I keep my nursing license current. It allows me to volunteer for medical mission trips and at the local free clinic. Fortunately, the things I love about nursing are part of my job here — like helping improve patients' lives."
- Ron Shank, oncology sales representative

"Merck recognizes the value of our nursing experience and brings our collaborative voice into business decisions that will have a positive impact on the patients and providers we serve."
- Becky Donahue, Sr. specialist, drug safety, U.S. pharmacovigilance

View original content here.

Learn more about the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Tweet me: .@Merck employs hundreds of registered nurses in non-clinical positions from product safety and labeling to marketing, clinical operations and medical affairs. Learn how #nurses provide meaningful insight across the business, even beyond their day jobs:


Women meeting with white board in background Jan Nissen Mary Elmer

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