Empathy in Your Pharmacy, A Balancing Act

Working as a pharmacist can be a challenging and rewarding experience. At times, however, you may encounter difficult situations, such as dealing with grieving family members. In these instances, it is important to strike a balance between expressing empathy and maintaining professionalism.

From a personal aspect, it is natural to feel compassion for someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. A kind word, a gentle touch, or even simply listening can help alleviate their pain and make them feel seen and heard. These gestures can go a long way in creating a positive experience for the family and showing them that you care.

However, as a pharmacist, it is also important to remember that you are working in a professional setting. This means that while showing empathy is important, it is equally crucial to maintain a level of detachment. This will help ensure that you can effectively carry out your duties, such as processing medication orders, communicating with other healthcare providers, and providing accurate information to the family.

One effective way to balance empathy and professionalism is to use active listening skills. This means truly paying attention to what the family is saying and acknowledging their feelings by restating what they have shared with you. For example, you can say something like, “I understand that this must be a very difficult time for you.” This helps the family feel heard and understood, while also allowing you to maintain a professional demeanour.

Another useful technique is to offer support without overstepping your bounds. You can do this by providing practical information about medication management and any other resources that may be available to them. For example, you could suggest that they speak with a counsellor or support group, or offer to provide them with educational materials about managing their loved one’s medications.

In conclusion, showing empathy to grieving family members is a delicate balance between expressing compassion and maintaining professionalism. As a pharmacist, it is important to strike this balance to provide the best possible care to your patients and their families. Remember, even the smallest gesture can make a big difference in their lives during this difficult time.