What I Miss

Much has been written and discussed about the pharmacist experience through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our colleges and associations have had to pivot and adapt and step up to provide us guidance. Individual pharmacists, managers and companies have had to rush to develop new policies and guidelines to aid front line dispensary staff in providing service and staying safe.

I’m not going to add to the all the wonderful writing and teaching and learning that has come about since Covid hit our world.

Really, I only wish to share my own experience with looking after my patients.  When I am in a tough spot as a professional, when I find it hard to get up day after day and face the imposed changes of this unprecedented time, I find that I need to refocus on why I am there, and for me it always comes back to my patients and my team.

There are things that I just simply miss about the way I always practiced my profession and have been forced to change.

I miss being able to lean into the conversation with a patient, using my body language to convey empathy.

I miss my patients seeing my smile of welcome when they come in, my face now hidden behind a mask and a barrier.

I miss being able to give a patient a hug when they are diagnosed with a life changing condition or have lost a loved one.  Yes, I have hugged patients.

I miss analyzing patient interactions with how best to connect with patients rather than how best to distance in order to keep the patient, myself and my staff safe.

The constant re-evaluation of whether we are doing enough to protect our staff and whether we are providing the best care possible to our patients can be exhausting.  The constant change of protocol and daily briefings and updates allow for no escape from the focus on COVID.

However, I do remind myself that pharmacists across the world are facing unparalleled issues; some have lost patients to COVID and some have had to battle the virus themselves.  Much suffering and turmoil have spread across the globe, keeping pace with the virus that has forever changed us all. 

My small reflection and limited experience is perhaps sentimental, but maybe one day, if our “new normal” is but a memory, I will reread this and remember what it is about my everyday practice that I can be thankful for.