Summer is winding down and fall is rushing towards us. The summer was hard, we had just begun to remember what “normal” life was like, and then the delta variant came blazing in with a vengeance.
But ASHP and the Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners have not stopped working. While there was no Summer Meeting, your Executive Committee was hard at work. We had so many great conversations on our strategic plan and innovative ideas for the Section. We thank Doug Meyer (Past Chair) for his commitment to the Section’s Executive Committee over the past three years, while at the same time welcoming Indrani Kar, Director-at Large-elect, to the group. In addition, Sarah Stephens is transitioning from her role as Director-at-Large to Chair-elect.
I am beyond honored to serve you all in this upcoming year as Section Chair. However, I am going to stray a little bit from the traditional “first Chair Message.” Instead, I feel called to write about something that undoubtedly is affecting every one of you reading this message.
As pharmacists on the front line of a never-ending pandemic, we are tired. We are feeling beat down using all our energy to care for our patients, our families, friends, and often total strangers.
I cannot think of a more crucial time to be in health care. And while it is important, it is HARD, and it is extremely exhausting. We are all doing our best work, but it is hard to keep our heads up and push forward. Especially when our training and everything we spent years learning is being questioned. Social media spreads misinformation like wildfire and at times it can feel like there is no end in sight. But there is, and although it is hard, we must remember to put our oxygen masks on first if we want to get there in one piece.
Over the past six months I have taken a hard look at ways to incorporate professional self-care into my world. I want to share with you a few things that I have implemented in the hope that you find something that helps you as well.
- Limiting my screen time. I must say I am not always successful with this, it is difficult. Social media is designed to suck you in, but I feel so much better when I don’t let it. If you have an iPhone, check out “Screen time” in your settings. It allows you to schedule downtime away from your screen or set limits for specific apps (this is the one I find useful).
- One app that I do not have a limit on is my “HeadSpace” app. As a member of ASHP, you have a free membership to this service. Before I start each workday, I sit in my car or at my desk and complete at least one meditation to help clean out all the noise in my life and help me focus on my work and my patients. My favorite is “Enjoy 5 deep breaths.” It is less than two minutes and helps me tune out all the noise. There are also focus music playlists that keep me going during the day. Likewise, I do this at the end of my day, as I log off from work and switch into my home/mom role. This is especially helpful if I am working from home.
- Find something to look forward to. This could be a catch-up call with a colleague, a day off dedicated to just you and your care, or an upcoming ASHP meeting.
- Recognize and thank each other. Buy a cup of coffee for a coworker or send a small note of encouragement. You might be surprised how doing something nice for someone else can bring you personal and professional joy. Consider nominating a colleague for an ASHP award. The call for nominations has gone out and all nominations are due by October 1st.Awards that may be of interest to SICP members include the ASHP Award of Excellence, ASHP Distinguished Leadership Award, and the new Pharmacy Technician Excellence Award.
If you have found other tactics that help you stay energized and engaged, please consider sharing them on ASHP Connect or emailing them to [email protected]. While we often feel alone in these feelings, we are not.
Remember, you are not alone. We are in this together, and we are going to have a wonderful year!
Delia C. Carias, Pharm.D., BCPS, DPLA
Chair, Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners