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Greener grass comes from good watering

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera

The pandemic has had quite an impact on our lives, hasn't it? On one hand, it seems like just yesterday that government officials were making those first announcements and on the other, it seems like we have been doing this pandemic thing for a long, long time.

I have had many more conversations with colleagues in all manner of different settings over the last year and a half, and I am beginning to notice something. I will admit that what I am noticing may be limited to my particular point of view. I may even pray that what I am noticing is limited to my point of view. But that would not lessen the importance of the topic today.

I have yet to find a pharmacy that has not been impacted in some way shape or form by Covid. I have heard stories of pharmacies that have been closed for days at a time secondary to deep cleaning protocols, and others that have been closed for days because of a lack of workers - pharmacists and technicians alike. Pharmacists in hospitals working multiple shifts because a coworker had Covid. Members of the supply chain on phone calls at 6 in the morning or at 11 at night to connect with people on the other side of the world.  And then there is you – you could write multiple books chronicling your experiences working through the pandemic.

Yet now I am beginning to notice something. People are changing...changing jobs.  They are moving from one role to another. Let me give you an example: I was in conversation with a university health system with a colleague, let’s call him Michael.  Michael oversaw dozens of clinical pharmacists across multiple hospitals. Then one day my emails stopped being returned. I would eventually find another colleague within that organization who told me Michael had left the university for greener pastures.

I had another conversation with a former co-worker who shared with me that she simply hoped to be able to survive flu season and then would need to change to another role or perhaps even another organization. 

There are other examples amid the dozens of independent pharmacies that I come in contact with. There are lots of people struggling in this season. Let me acknowledge that there is a significant part of all that is going on that can be attributed to mental health. While I have credentials in the mental health area, let me encourage you to take this area very seriously for yourself and those people you are working with every day. 

Through all of this, there is a call for strong leadership. When I heard Michael had left for “greener pastures,” it reminded me of some variation of the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side. 

I do know how this statement goes: the grass is always greener - where it is watered!

This statement I recognize to be a clear call for leadership, especially in challenging times.

Perhaps your experience since the beginning of the pandemic has you thinking that the grass may be greener somewhere else. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. You don’t even have control over the greenness of the grass somewhere else. But you do have control over the greenness of your grass where you are at right now. I encourage you to water your grass! We will look more at this concept in coming blogs. Until then, I challenge you to think about all of the ways that you can “water the grass” right where you are.

Until next time -

Jesse McCullough, PharmD


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