Thousands of pharmacists are among healthcare workers receiving recognition for being a part of frontline forces to help people during the global pandemic.
An outreach effort initially to thank a few local pharmacists and their staff has grown into a national movement called: “Spark Joy in Healthcare.”
From California to New York, nearly every state has participated in the movement by nominating a team for a care package, which started from a kind gesture by a California-based pharmacist, Dr. Jessica Louie.
She noticed that many pharmacists’ contributions have been forgotten in the pandemic while the critical healthcare employees and their staff often work long hours to fulfill their duties mixing ingredients for medication and risking their health working directly with sick patients.
Companies like Arizona-based WellRx has assisted with the delivery of more than 1,200 care packages to pharmacists across the country.
“ScriptSave WellRx has always helped consumers save medications, and we work very close to pharmacies and pharmacists. We saw Dr. Jessica Louie was looking for donations to send thank you boxes to pharmacies and staff. We scheduled calls with Jessica and asked how we could help make the biggest impact – her response was ‘shipping,’” said WellRx Marketing Director Robert Craver.
He told her that the Arizona prescription company that enables people to get medicine at a discount, would cover shipping for all her remaining boxes and even sent a few items such as prescription discount cards to be included in the package.
With more than 33 million Americans who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, and lost health insurance to get necessary medicine, Mr. Craver noted the importance of wellness for all.
“During this pandemic, we just want everyone to be healthy and that includes mental health. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. ScriptSave WellRx wanted to make sure Jessica could send out as many thank you boxes as possible,” he said.
Besides WellRx helping to cover the delivery costs, other companies gave products such as lip balm, snacks, drinks and more, said the Pasadena pharmacist, Dr. Louie, who wanted to show her gratitude to others in her industry who may have felt overwhelmed and overworked amidst the Covid-19 scare.
She even sent care packages to six pharmacists at the Scottsdale Mayo, according to a press release.
“I know what it feels like to be burned out. I was burned out in residency, critical care and academia as a pharmacist. Now, I help my fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals transform their lives too so we can all spark joy in healthcare together! We believe in community and joy as pharmacists,” said Dr. Louie.
“When pharmacists take care of themselves, they are better equipped to take care of our patients.”
In addition to handling medication for preventative care, and monitoring chronic diseases, Dr. Louie described the extent of pharmacists’ duties during the pandemic and why it was important to recognize pharmacy staff as critical healthcare system workers aiding in various roles from the hospital setting and ambulatory care clinics to community retail pharmacies.
She said community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals working in local retail and independent pharmacies to ensure medications are not only properly prescribed, but administer vaccinations, consult with patients on questions about prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
“In some areas, pharmacists are also performing COVID-19 testing for our local communities,” she said.
“Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professional with most Americans living within five miles of a pharmacist. Due to this pandemic, many pharmacists have been feeling overworked and overwhelmed. Unfortunately, they are also often forgotten as critical healthcare professionals. My goal is to recognize these important workers and to bring joy into everyday life.”