World Pharmacist Day!

Hope you all are having a fantastic week so far. Believe it or not, it was ‘World Pharmacist Day” yesterday! I didn’t realise until I saw an email from the Pharmacy Guild yesterday afternoon wishing me a happy world pharmacist day.


I told Tracy about it, and she said, “Too bad Chris! I would have bought us all afternoon tea!”


I then replied in a devastated tone: “Nooooo wayyyyyyy! Now I wish I checked my email earlier…..”


“Well, there is always next year to celebrate. Right?”


“That’s true… It seems like that has become a norm for us.”


To be perfectly honest with all of you, the “World Pharmacist Day” is one of those days that you know is important and probably one of the biggest events in a pharmacists calendar (not that we have a lot), yet it’s hardly being celebrated.


Majority of the time we are either too busy to remember it or when we do remember it, it has already passed. This year is no different from any of the previous years.


Every year, I kept saying to myself that we need to do something special on this very special day of ours. But I always ended up firing an empty round of promise. Maybe all I need is a reminder from all of you for next year? Maybe we can count on you? 🙂


The World Pharmacist day has made me reflect on my journey so far as a pharmacist and is my privilege to share a glimpse of it with all of you.


Being a pharmacist wasn’t an easy choice back when I was in university. Many of my mates, just like myself, had chosen pharmacy as a backup choice in case we didn’t get into medicine. We all had a mission – to serve our community and improve patient’s health outcomes.


The reality is that we didn’t end up being doctors, but instead, we all became pharmacists. Initially, it was difficult to accept our fate to be counting pills for the rest of our lives. I mean, who could imagine doing that! Right?


Well, as time went by, my perspective on being a pharmacist changed as we progressed through our 5-year university degree and training. By the end of it, we were all believers that we can truly take on the world and have a tremendous impact on people’s lives.


Many of the pharmacists that I know or worked with in the past have started off newly qualified with a 100% enthusiasm in their work, believing that we can truly make a difference.


The first year of working as a pharmacist is what I consider the “honeymoon” phase. We were no longer required to shadow an experienced pharmacist, and we can start making some real-life clinical decisions besides counting pills.


Three years into your career, we are bound to hit our first of wall of disappointment. Your perspective about the pharmacy profession as a whole has changed not for good but unfortunately for the worse.


This is because most young pharmacists will start to realise how underutilised we are as a health profession compared to the rest. At university, we’ve always been taught how the role of a pharmacist in an ideal world should be. But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.


Eventually, we all ended up in the crossroad of whether to carry on being a pharmacist or move on to do something else. Sadly, many of my friends have moved on because they can no longer bear to see themselves doing something completely different from what was once promised.


The ones who chose to carry on are usually the most stubborn bunch who still believe they can make a difference.


I guess, the longer you become a pharmacist; you began to appreciate the relationship you create with your patients.


You start to recognise your regular patients and know them by their first name. You realise you are doing something right when you see many regular patients come to you for health advice. Those are the interactions that I love about being a pharmacist.


With time, the younger pharmacist will realise that having an impact on people’s health does not necessarily always mean saving lives or solving big problems like what they portray in the movies or TV. Sometimes the small things mean the most.


A pharmacist journey can be seen like a roller coaster ride with ups and downs, twists, and turns.


We learn a lot along the way and pick up a unique set of skills. One skill set I’m particularly proud of is my multitasking ability.


Many pharmacists would agree with me that multitasking is a crucial skillset that is necessary to survive to work in a dispensary. Processing prescriptions, answering clinical queries from a doctor over the phone and attending to a patient who thinks they might have an allergic reaction can all be happening at the same time during a typical day.


Some of you might say: “Chris, come on…multi-tasking is nothing special.”.


I usually reply, saying: “It is special if it comes from a male…haha.”


There is a saying – “Behind every pharmacist, there are competent technicians and shop assistants” In my opinion, these are the real heroes of the pharmacy. They are the people who work behind the scene so that pharmacists can do their job. And I’m truly blessed to be working alongside such an amazing, dedicated team of passionate technicians and shop assistants.


Next time when you visit your local pharmacy for a prescription, pay attention to the pharmacist and technician working in the dispensary.


They focus most of their time and energy on ensuring you receive safe and effective drug treatment within a limited time frame.


If you have the chance to speak to a pharmacist, let them know how you feel. I’m sure they would love to know how much you value their passion for patient care.


To you and your family’s health,


Chris Pharmacist