Author: Brittany Bates, OSHP President-Elect
As the holiday season is upon us, I thought I would share a personal story of gratitude.
In my fourth year as a pharmacist, I received a call that changed the trajectory of my life and my career. My healthy, forty-nine-year old mother was being rushed to a large medical center with suspected bacterial meningitis. That first day was a mix of blurred chaos and vivid images that will forever be etched in my mind. During the nine days my mother spent in the hospital, I experienced fear and uncertainty. I also experienced joy and amazement at each stage of her improvement. Looking back, I feel an immense amount of gratitude for what this experience taught me.
First, I am thankful for my education and my clinical experiences during residency. This training allowed me to understand what was happening to my mother and interpret medical terminology for my family. I am also thankful for the medical professionals who took extra time with me, answered my questions, and even accepted recommendations from “the patient’s daughter who is a pharmacist.” Being on the other side of the healthcare team provided me with insights into the scary and frustrating role of being a patient or advocating for a family member. I attempt to keep this in mind each time I interact with patients or their families.
Next, I am thankful for my pharmacy and physician colleagues. In the true spirit of teamwork, they covered my service and allowed me to take off the time I needed. Further, they were a resource to me when I had complicated questions about my mother’s condition. At this point in my career I was rounding on an internal medicine service, but I found myself drawn to infectious diseases. The firsthand experience with my mother’s diagnosis strengthened my passion for infectious diseases and shaped the direction of my career in the following years. Today I teach CNS infections to students at Ohio Northern University, and my students are likely to hear about my mother’s case!
Finally, I am most grateful that my mother made a full recovery. An underlying medical problem was identified during her hospitalization that will require lifelong treatment, but her condition is manageable. We are fortunate. My whole experience with my mother’s illness helped me to appreciate that I am part of one of the greatest professions. The work we do, and our collaboration with other health care professionals, benefits so many—including, at times, our own families.
I hope that in this holiday season all of us can remember special moments of gratitude as we embrace the serious challenges we face each day. I also want to express my own gratitude for your support of OSHP and for the opportunity I have to lead this organization.
Brittany Bates, OSHP President-Elect