Source: JL / The Pharmaceutical Journal
I cannot attribute my change in practice to just one person. I am changed a little every time I see a patient. I have seen hundreds of people over the years and I reflect after every appointment.
Thank you to the woman who felt safe enough to cry throughout our one-hour appointment. You taught me that sometimes I cannot fix, only listen.
Thank you to the man who trusted me to reduce his medication, despite his severe anxiety and depression. You taught me that small gains are worthy of celebrating together.
Thank you to the person who refused to decrease her diazepam and then sent me a thank you card for listening to her and not taking it away. You taught me that there is more than one right answer.
Thank you to the person who admitted to throwing her prescription away because she feared what would happen if she took it. You taught me what I need to do to allow difficult truths to be spoken.
Thank you to the man who spoke about his medication-related sexual dysfunction openly. You taught me how to welcome vulnerable conversations.
Thank you to the woman who agreed to reduce her medication so that she can feel her own emotion for the first time in years. It has taken us two years to get here and despite being afraid of the next step you keep asking to see me. You have taught me courage.
Thank you to the person who has had severe sensitivities to most antipsychotics, yet believes in me to help switch her to a different one with less weight gain. You taught me the power of true collaboration.
The people who I see in my consultations are my true teachers. They have taught me how to listen with true empathy, how I cannot fix everything or sometimes anything, and how I need not be an expert, but simply be another human. They have taught me how I can allow them to be honest about their medicines with me — sometimes for the first time — without judgement, without coercion, and without a lecture. Each and every person I see influences my practice, and I thank them for their wisdom and their humanity.
Nana Tomova, lead mental health pharmacist, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Nana’s piece placed third in the pharmacist category of our 2019 writing competition ‘The Patient Who Changed My Practice’. Read more entries here.