Beginning pharmacy school and entering the profession of pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic has given me an even greater respect for my chosen profession.
As a second-year student and chair of March’s Pharmacy Awareness Month (PAM) 2022 committee, I believe it is especially important to show our appreciation for the amazing work of pharmacy teams.
‘Only accessible health care professionals’
Throughout the pandemic, pharmacy teams dealt with issues such as a lack of accessible personal protective equipment and are playing a major role in vaccine rollouts as well as flu shot rollouts, which have led to busy phone lines and packed aisles of people waiting to get their shots.
Virtual appointments have meant an endless number of prescriptions faxed from prescribers. There have been staffing shortages because of pharmacy team members being in isolation.
For many patients, we were the only accessible health-care professionals during lockdowns. This meant a lot of extra work on pharmacy teams on top of their already busy work days. They are often overlooked as health-care providers who also deal with stress and burnout.
These obstacles have been stressful and difficult for the mental well-being of pharmacy team members, including pharmacy students. Many people in my profession, including me, fear contracting COVID-19 and bringing it home to loved ones or spreading it to patients.
Making a difference
And while working in the field of pharmacy and being a pharmacy student during the pandemic has been difficult, I have not had doubts about my career path.
If anything, it has confirmed that this is the career for me.
It’s encouraging to know you are making a difference in times of difficulty and chaos.
“We have demonstrated our capabilities and justified the need for an expanded scope of practice.”
As well, during the past two years, many people learned that we are able to prescribe for a number of minor ailments, that we can extend and adapt prescriptions and do therapeutic substitutions.
As a profession, we have demonstrated our capabilities and justified the need for an expanded scope of practice to be able to prescribe for things that pharmacists in other provinces are able to do, like antibiotics for uncomplicated urinary tract infections.
Pharmacy Appreciation Month
Pharmacy Appreciation Month 2022 will be different and interesting in 2022.
We’ll hold online and in-person events, all to highlight our appreciation for members of the pharmacy community.
Each Wednesday in March we will be hosting Wellness Wednesdays as we try to focus on mental well-being.
We are grateful this year to be able to return to some in-person events, such as our Annual Public Pill drop at the Medication Therapy Services Clinic at Tiffany Court in St. John’s, which takes place on Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.n.-2 p.m.
We’re also returning with our Hypertension Clinic at Kenmount Bingo in St. John’s on Saturday, March 26, from 12-2 p.m.