Working as a locum pharmacist allows you the freedom to select where and when you want to work. However there may be occasions where working away from family or friends can feel isolating. There are many positive things about working as a locum pharmacist, particularly in regional and rural towns, but they can come with their own unique challenges. Fewer services, isolation and extreme weather events are just some of the challenges that you may encounter.
Locum pharmacists have played a vital role in providing front line services during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been challenging to many, both professionally and personally. It is important that as a healthcare professional, you pay attention to your own health and well being so that you can continue to care for others.
When you have good mental health, you can cope with the stressors of your daily life, participate in loving relationships, contribute to the community, and work towards your goals. Everyone has mental health. And we can all benefit from looking after our own mental health and the mental health of our communities and colleagues.
Checking in on those around us, allows people to feel supported and connected. Reaching out, asking and listening is a simple step to take, to ensure that if someone is doing it tough, they do not feel isolated. Being aware of the needs of your colleagues and checking in with them, listening and acknowledging how they are feeling without judgement is important.
If there are times where you feel isolated or lonely, there are a few things you can try:
- Establish a routine to help give your day structure and purpose.
- Make time for exercise and hobbies.
- Prioritise getting a good quality sleep.
- Don’t rely on alcohol or drugs as a coping strategy to deal with your emotions.
- Find a good and positive support system and check in with each other.
- Stay connected with loved ones. This is really important if you are in an isolated living situation.
- Do things you enjoy, like cooking or watching a movie you enjoy.
- Practice mindful activities such as reading, walking, or meditation.
- Take some time away from your devices, particularly if you tend to find the content distressing or you are constantly scrolling.
Pharmacists are one of the most accessible frontline health workers, and with World Pharmacist Day approaching on the 25th of September, with the theme, Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health, let’s ensure that we also look after our own and our colleagues mental health.
If you require any support, the Pharmacists’ Support Service is available to support all Australian pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, PSS will accept calls for support from pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians. The service is available every day of the year from 8am to 11pm AEST on 1300 244 910. Support is provided by trained volunteers who are all pharmacists or retired pharmacists.