Does prioritizing self-care means betraying your patient care? I asked this question to myself when I was working as a hospital pharmacist and slowly burning out. Our patients have always been our priority as the sole reason for the pharmacy profession, is to take care of patients. But as the flight attendants instruct, “Put your oxygen mask first on before helping others”, how far can we continue without taking care of ourselves?

The importance of self-care within the healthcare workforce is essential when working in stressful environments and providing patient care. Considering long working hours, irregular work schedules, and unrealistic expectations with limited resources our current system is clearly not delegating time for health and wellness. Self-care is not often promoted or prioritized by the healthcare culture and it is perceived as a luxury for healthcare professionals. Until the culture has caught up with the notion to improve a work-life balance, if we can take a look within and understand that there are needs, there are options to use the rights and the voice given to know when exhaustion has set in. We all need to embrace that especially in healthcare, self-care is not selfish; in fact, given the current conditions, it may be the most selfless thing to do.

Our compassionate self can allocate boundaries and give rise to that much warranted time that is essential for the self. Let’s aim to take better care and strides to change the chronic habit of neglect of the individual’s need for wellness within our institutions of health. At the end of the day, as Greg Mckeown said, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will”.

Self-Care
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