Joy and Gratitude at Thanksgiving
Betty Chaffee, PharmD, is owner and sole proprietor of BetterMyMeds, a Medication Management service devoted to helping people get the maximum benefit from their medications.
I try to live a life of gratitude. Can't pretend I'm always successful at it, but I do tend to be more of an optimist than a pessimist. I think that means I'm more often grateful for what I have than upset about what I don't have. And now Thanksgiving's almost here. In past Thanksgiving posts I've done my best to take off my "pharmacist hat" and talk in a personal way about things I'm grateful for. This year, I'm going in a little different direction.
If you've been reading this blog, you probably know how much I love being a pharmacist. Maybe you've wondered why that brings me joy. You're about to find out.
For sure, pharmacists are under a lot of stress. No matter where they're working, they're crazy-busy. In community pharmacies, pharmacists and technicians often don't even slow down to eat or take a break during their long work day. Why do they subject themselves to that? Because they care about you, their patients. The only thing they'll slow down for is to make sure you get good care. Get your questions answered, choose the right product on the shelf, or learn about your new prescription medicine. And now, they're making sure you have access to Covid vaccines and testing services.
I've had the pleasure of working with the crew at Jensen's Community Pharmacy, which has stores in both Saline, Michigan, and Dexter, Michigan. The pharmacists and technicians at Jensen's are dedicated to improving the health of their patients. Right now they're working as fast as they can to vaccinate everyone 5 years and older against Covid-19. They're working long hours, checking every vaccine twice or three times (or more) to make sure each patient gets the right vaccine at the right dose. At the same time doing Covid testing so that patients can be sure they're free of the virus (or not). All while filling the same number of prescriptions every day, accurately and quickly. I've been privileged to work alongside those professionals, giving vaccines and helping their patients (maybe some of you!). And that brings me great joy, and pride in my colleagues and my profession.
And it' not just community pharmacists and technicians that work hard. Pharmacists in hospitals are doing everything they can to keep up with the demand for new Covid-19 therapies. Monclonal antibodies, cytokine inhibitors, antivirals. All with new and different procedures to ensure they're used safely and effectively. It's hard work, painstaking and yet fast-paced at times. But pharmacists and technicians come in every day to do it again, because they know their skills are needed. As a member of the pharmacy staff at St. Joseph Mercy hospital in Chelsea, Michigan, I'm lucky to work with the other pharmacists and technicians there. I see their commitment to helping patients and other health professionals every day, and I'm grateful for it.
Pharmacists are unique. We tend to be people who focus on accuracy, rules, dotting every "i" and crossing every "t". We wouldn't be good at filling prescriptions if we weren't. But at the same time we have a heart for our patients. We're as much about people as we are about process. Surely other professions have people like that, too. But if you've never stopped to talk to the pharmacist who fills your prescriptions, I encourage you to do it. You'll find that your pharmacist is a wealth of information about your medicines and how they affect your health. Take advantage of that relationship!
There are many pharmacists across the country trying to make sustainable businesses like BetterMyMeds. Like me, they understand that pharmacists look at medicine and health through a different lens than doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. And that when we're part of the healthcare team, we can help to improve the health of patients. Even more, they believe that once patients like you know that too, you'll demand input from your pharmacist whenever your doctor suggests prescribing a new medicine.
Finally, I'm grateful for you, my readers and patients, who have heard that message loud and clear. And told others about it, too! You're helping lead healthcare in a direction that it should have been going all along. Together we can make it happen.
All in all, I'm proud to be part of a profession that puts patients first. Grateful for your trust in our profession, and especially for your trust in me. As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I hope you'll join me in finding many things to be grateful for. And that you'll find much joy as a result.
As always comments are welcome, either right below this article or by directly contacting us at BetterMyMeds. Blessings to each and every one of you!