A Life of Service

By Amy Holmes posted 07-21-2013 20:06


Many occupations are considered service oriented as there are many ways to serve.  We often think of police with their motto to “Protect and Serve.”  Likewise, firefighters, public officials and many other occupations are considered service jobs.  As healthcare workers, we are also in a service industry.  Do you ever take the time to think of yourself that way?  Not in the negative since of being a servant, someone who is put upon, but rather someone who is a helping hand to someone in need of assistance.  We know that the recipients of our service are not just our patients, but the doctors, nurses and other health care workers that we come in contact with every day.

When people think of donating the most obvious things that come to mind are donation of unwanted items to organizations like Goodwill or donations of money to worthy causes such as the American Red Cross.  Most pharmacists make a comfortable salary that allows them to give to organizations that fund things that they are passionate about.  I have been a St. Jude’s Partner in Hope since the 90’s.  I have always had a passion for sick children.  Some people are more passionate about supporting the prevention of animal cruelty or maybe their alma mater.  Whatever your passion is, I encourage you to support it monetarily if you can.

Another way to serve through donation is by donating your time.  When we have time available to donate, we may choose to spend that time working as a pharmacist or doing something completely different.  As a pharmacist we may volunteer at the local free clinic pharmacy or travel with a foreign medical mission group. 

Outside of our profession we can donate our time to so many worthy causes- serving within our church, assisting charitable organizations, coaching a team, etc.  These experiences outside of our professional lives provide us a network of friends and contacts outside the world of pharmacy.  For someone like me who doesn’t easily make friends outside of the work environment, this has been a great opportunity to meet people outside of work.  It is really important to have those non-work friendships and connections. 

Thinking a little outside the box, those who are blessed with the good health to be eligible to donate can donate blood products.  Some even take the extra step of getting registered for the National Bone Marrow registry in the hopes of meeting a need there.  I have worked with one pharmacist who donated a kidney to a child in need.

To be completely honest, I have to confess that my first pint of blood was donated sheerly due to the power of peer pressure.  I was working in a hospital as a pharmacy technician during my college years when a fellow technician who I knew did not like me asked me to sign up for a blood drive.  My concern over not being liked by this individual beat out the fear of needles that I secretly harbored and I did sign up and donate in that drive.  From that point forward in my life I have been a routine blood donor.  In the past few years I have started donating platelets as well.  I wonder sometimes if I would have ever been brave enough to try it had it not been for that initial encounter.  I honestly don’t know.  I’m so glad that I did it though.  If any of you have thought about it but never tried it – there’s no time like the present. 

For me, there came a time in my career when I wanted to spend my free time doing anything but practicing pharmacy.  Then recently while working on some projects and struggling with time management, I realized that anybody could do what I was doing.  I decided it was time to shift my priorities back to things for which I was specifically qualified, like volunteering at the Crisis Control Ministry pharmacy or donating platelets.

Whatever your interest or passion, there are opportunities in your community to serve.  So what are you waiting for?