I am a student pharmacist, and recently I have learned the importance of mental health and personal wellbeing. In fact, the importance of maintaining my mental health and wellbeing has been reinforced throughout my summer internship with ASHP. ASHPs mission statement on wellbeing and resilience is; “ASHP is committed to fostering and sustaining the well-being, resilience, and professional engagement of pharmacists, pharmacy residents, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians.” I believe in this mission whole heartedly.
There is a lot of stress that can naturally come with a job in the health care field. As pharmacists, this stress can be due to the pressing need for medications in order to properly treat patients. Stress has been shown to lead to provider burnout. That being said, you cannot be a good provider to others unless you first take care of yourself. Preventing provider burnout can also prevent medication errors and near misses. If we are burned-out and are not taking care of our own mental health, how can we efficiently be supportive to our patients and team? Proper maintenance of both your mental health and wellbeing must be started during pharmacy school and carried through residency training and ones career.
How you focus on your wellbeing can be unique to your personal needs, and it can be a number of things that may be beneficial to you and not just one practice. For me I enjoy meditating in my yoga practice and focusing on being present. Yoga encompasses mindfulness, breathing exercises, and physical strength which are all things I strive to practice. For others running can be a great way to practice this, or simply making time for sleep and to eat healthy. Some further examples are the journaling, reading, or simply spending time outside. Headspace is a great app available to all ASHP members to use regarding meditation. I like to bring this into my pharmacy experience by the fact that when things get chaotic, taking deep breaths and focusing on what I can fix or be working on in the moment is what I should focus my energy on. There are plenty of ways to individualize these practices so it is important to find what works best for you. The ASHP Wellbeing and You Page has several resources available to help you get started.
If you are like me, having a community of well minded people to connect with can also be helpful. Receiving a new perspective from colleagues can be refreshing and can give you a new outlook on your work. Family and friends can be a great support system for your mental health so make sure to use them when you need to.
Having a balance in life is key to everything. Too much of one thing is not beneficial for anyone. As a health care provider, we need to be in the best mindset so we can show empathy and compassion to our patients. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so do not neglect to exercise it and give it breaks.