Your Patients Need You to be an Artist as Well as a Scientist

Most would agree that at least part of what pharmacists do can be considered art. In fact, most pharmacists I’ve asked say that listening and communication is where the art is to be found. My doctor friends say the same about their practice. 

When it comes to artistry in the medical field, though, it’s not about just communication and listening. It’s something more personal and universal. And it’s not just part of science, it’s married to science. 

The art of the medical fields comes from being fully present with another human being in order to help another heal. It’s about tapping into things like intuition and wisdom to know what to say and when. 

Consider a world where a doctor can send a prescription through cyberspace to a pharmacy in another state. The prescription is checked by a pharmacist via computer and then a robot fills the prescription and another robot boxes it up and mails it to the patient. The patient never meets or talks to the pharmacist. 

If the patient has questions, she can read the insert that comes with every prescription or she more likely the patient will type the question in the search bar on her computer.

You can even set up text reminders for patients to pick up their medication and even take their medication.  

Don’t be discouraged by these advances in technology. They’re your friend. They help you do your job more efficiently. There’s no fear of you being replaced by a robot. Your humanity is what connects you to the patient and inspires real change in them. It’s those changes that you inspire in another human being that make the job fun, connect you to your real purpose, and lead to the true healing that is so needed right now. 

Where Does the Human Spirit Show Up?

People can tell if you’re bringing generosity, hope, and kindness to your interactions. It’s the tone of your voice, how you carry yourself, and the WAY you say what you say. It’s about having your heart in the right place. 

Remember the last time you were counseling a patient about something mundane such as to remind them to take their medication and then suddenly something came over you. You switch gears. You go from leading with your head to leading with your heart. You find yourself saying something unexpected but perfect. There’s magic in those interactions. There’s healing in those interactions. A computer is efficient, but it can’t do that. 

You and your patient felt so good after the interaction. What about the last time someone expressed how nice it was to hear a friendly voice on the other end of the phone? Do people seek you out to ask questions about their medication or just health in general? These things are the result of leading with heart and having the spirit and intention of a true healer. And people pick up on that and are changed by it. 

Where Does Intuition Show Up?

You use your intuition quite often, even if you don’t call it that. Your patients are amazed by your ability to read between the lines and tell them exactly what they need to know even when they didn’t ask the question. They’re relieved when you explained something in a different way when they were pretending to understand so they wouldn’t feel embarrassed. They think you’re amazing and wonderful when, out of the blue, you share a story or a piece of information that literally transforms the way they were thinking.

Remember how many times you had a gut feeling about a prescription that was technically correct but “wrong” for the patient? You called about it, and you were right. It was wrong. 

How about the last time you were thinking about a patient and they called two minutes later? They were so thrilled that you were thinking about them. They felt cared for and valued. 

On a hunch, in the middle of a busy day, I was checking a refill on an antidepressant, when I suddenly had the urge to go buy a card for the patient. I followed that intuition and bought a little card, wrote a little note and stuck it in the prescription bag along with the medication.

Where Does Wisdom Show Up?

Computers are smart and even intelligent, but they’re not wise. With your wisdom you bring all of your experience as a pharmacist, healer, and a human to your practice. You know what to do because you’ve done so much already and learned from each experience. 

You know how to apply the vast amount of information at your fingertips. Wisdom has taught you not to just answer a question that a patient is asking but to go a little deeper to uncover what the real issue is and address that instead. Wisdom has taught you not to barrage a patient with a litany of side effects but rather to choose carefully what to tell the patient. Wisdom has shown you when you need a common sense approach to a complex problem. 

If it was just information people wanted, they wouldn’t ever ask you anything. The search engines would be all that they need. The wisdom in them recognizes that only a wise woman or man can tell them what they really need to know in a compassionate and caring way.

Final thoughts

Healers in any field from psychology to pharmacy, know that only by being fully present and wholly human, can there be real transformation. The wise men and women of healthcare today will embrace both technology and the humanity in themselves and in others. So take heart! Bring all of yourself to your work- your intuition, your wisdom, and your spirit. By being fully present and fully human with another person, you help them feel better and get better and isn’t that why you got into this profession in the first place?

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