Jess Purkiss is a clinical pharmacist in a mental health trust. Part of her role involves leading work to facilitate clinical trials undertaken in outsourced community pharmacy suppliers. She also acts as clinical research community pharmacy lead for NIHR Clinical Research Network: Yorkshire and Humber.
Well, spring is here, the days are lengthening and beginning to warm. I am casting off my warm winter wear and this year, to stretch my budget, I have been shopping in my wardrobe; bringing out previously forgotten items and mixing and matching to ensure I make the most of what I have got.
My frugal spring, and the austere times we are having as a country, is analogous with the opportunities we have as pharmacists to make the most of what we have got. Many of my skills as a pharmacist were forgotten until I rummaged around my long forgotten knowledge and applied it to research. It’s not “What can I wear with this?”, but rather “What if we do it this way?”, “What if we gave this medication with this one?”, “What if I support this patient to do this?”, “How can I prove if this method works?”.
My spring savings have helped the household budget, just as pharmacists can improve quality, effectiveness and efficiency through expanding the evidence base – all we need is a little time and motivation to put together those skills we already have. The alternative option is for me to wear the same old thing over and over again and deposit those things I don’t wear into the charity shop to be worn by someone else or used for the next school play. Now I am not advocating that you abandon charity shops but I do think we need to be mindful of the fact that we have a profession with experience of data management, safe supply, management of risks, knowledge of storage and an understanding of medication like no other profession and I question why we chose to keep this knowledge, skill and experience hidden in our professional wardrobe to gather dust and decay – is it because we are not used to being sparkly and showing that we can dress up for the occasion? I suggest we open the closet and show off what we have got rather than exploring what we haven’t got.
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