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”.
Nazan is a pharmacy PhD, career coach, consultant, and singer-songwriter-guitarist. She holds a doctoral degree in Biotechnology with a focus on Psychiatric Pharmacogenetics and Personalized Medicine.
Four years after immigrating to the United States from her hometown of Ankara, Turkey, Nazan became a board-certified pharmacist in the state of Massachusetts. She has a plethora of diverse experiences from establishing hospital pharmacy departments to working in the matrix environments of the pharmaceutical industry, clinical research, and academia. As well as teaching and presenting widely, she has authored numerous scientific publications.
In order to fulfill her imaginative and creative side, she turned to the arts and dedicated another huge part of her life to pursue a parallel career in music. As a multi-award-winning songwriter, performer and founder of the Neotolia Fusion Jazz Band (www.neotolia.com), she has inspired and entertained people from all walks of life the world over, and takes pride in mentoring future performers.
Her coaching career is the outcome of years of experience in self-development, mindfulness, mentoring and communication. Her inquisitive nature and her love of problem-solving helps her recognize opportunities for improvement in others.