This is a campaign letter for the 2021 RPS national pharmacy board elections. The views expressed in this letter belong to the author. Find out more about the RPS elections.
If you grow a fruit plant and it starts to wither, what do you do?
You hydrate it, increase its nutrients, change the soil, observe it more frequently, move it to a different area and put it in a different pot. Ultimately, the fruit the plant yields is only as good as the effort we put into its care.
The pharmacy profession has consistently delivered throughout the pandemic but fatigue has set in. We are like the withered plant. As the impact and extent of delays in diagnosis and treatments begins to be realised, we need to ensure the same level of quality of care is maintained as we emerge from the pandemic, and to do that we need to look after ourselves and each other.
The patient experience is the fruit of our labour and, ultimately, whether you are working in a laboratory, surgery, ward, community pharmacy or office, the patient and improving patient outcomes is our focus.
We are great at listening to patients and other healthcare professionals but this needs to extend to listening to each other. We need to engage more within the profession, prioritising our physical and mental health, to listen to our employees and employers and understand how we improve work-life balance. As healthcare professionals. we need the ability to practice what we preach and care for our health and wellbeing.
We should not feel so drained from work that we are unable to achieve the minimum 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity required weekly. We need to ensure we have protected breaks, email free periods and take annual leave not fearing the workload created by our absence.
Observe your colleagues. Are they happy? Can we do anything to improve that? Have we looked at the environment? At the culture? Are we responsible colleagues in the workplace? Do we call out bullying, discrimination or harassment? Are we encouraging eachother to flourish? Do we create an open, honest, equal and diverse culture, engaging with and supporting each other?
As an English Pharmacy Board member, I will ensure we take further steps to prioritise this in the profession.
We have a professional responsibility to take care of ourselves and each other. Then we are able to bring the best version of ourselves to work and maximise the positive impact of pharmacists on the lives of patients.
Ciara Marie Duffy, election candidate, English pharmacy board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society