Is there ever an inappropriate time for celebration? It’s a question I’ve been mulling over after a reader used an online article on this year’s C+D Awards shortlist to ask whether, “at a time when our profession is being attacked”, it is really appropriate to host a “self-congratulatory” awards ceremony.
I get their point. Pharmacists have long been battling against the odds, whether it’s facing pressure from internal targets or scepticism from commissioners. With draconian cuts to pharmacy funding in England looming, continuing to host a ceremony celebrating the sector’s achievements may seem like tapping your toe to the Titanic’s resident band while the ship sinks.
But I’d argue that this tough climate makes it more important than ever to draw attention to each one of you who is going the extra mile for your patients every day. With many C+D readers expressing disillusionment with their current career, there isn’t a better time for pharmacists to share their trials and triumphs – whether that’s delivering medicines to housebound patients in person, or finding a fresh way to collaborate with other health professionals in their area.
I’m not just talking about the C+D Awards (obviously, I’m slightly biased on that account). From the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s I Love My Pharmacist competition, returning for a third year, to the online phenomenon that was last month’s #pharmacy24 Twitter initiative, there is a plethora of ways that both frontline pharmacists and their representatives are continuing to put the sector in the spotlight. And let’s not forget the internal awards and reward schemes organised by chains and buying groups, or individual pharmacies’ trusty Employee of the Month accolades.
None of these should be seen as self-congratulatory back-slapping. No one goes to work expecting to win an award, but if you do get nominated then it’s not only a confidence boost, but a chance to share a success story with the rest of community pharmacy.
These initiatives shouldn’t continue in spite of the hardships faced by the sector, but because of them. As Pharmacy24 co-founder Mohammed Hussain puts it: “We wanted pharmacists to shout about what we do [and] what we’re passionate about.” I have to agree. The qualities of passion, innovation and great patient care should always be cause for celebration.