My proudest NHS moment
03 Jul 2018
One of my proudest moments was helping a whole family give up smoking.
It started with a lady coming in for cough medication and then we had a chat which led to conversation around smoking cessation. Being a Healthy Living Pharmacy, it is easy for us to bring up healthy lifestyle advice with patients. This lady felt it was going to be impossible for her to stop smoking. However, four weeks down the line she had given it up. Then in came her parents, and then her aunt followed by her two sisters. Her mother actually told me she was going to paste their smoke-free certificate on the wall of their staircase at home! She said that every time any of them are climbing the stairs they will remember their achievement, which will motivate them not to smoke again. Another person I helped to give up smoking said: “If the stop smoking service had not been available in this pharmacy I would still be smoking today, or dead.” My pharmacy was the first Healthy Living Pharmacy in Dudley and that was a proud moment in its own right. Seeing positive changes in the lives of my patients due to interventions they accessed in the pharmacy always makes me proud of my career. The joy of knowing they have achieved what they thought was impossible is priceless and it gives me enormous pleasure to help someone make such a positive lifestyle change. The Priory Community pharmacy is in a very deprived neighbourhood and we see many patients that smoke. Some are unaware of the long-term effects of smoking (and passive smoking) on them and their families, and other patients see smoking as a costly habit. We provide non-judgemental advice and information about our services and a person is ready to quit then we support and tailor our service for that particular patient. We even provide money boxes to patients so that they can save the money they would have otherwise spent on cigarettes. Seeing patients come back to show me what they have done with the money they saved over time is amazing. One patient came to show me their car and another one their lovely bicycle. I believe that smoking cessation is an invaluable public health service which should be easily available and accessible.
Author: Olutayo M Arikawe, Superintendent Pharmacist, The Priory Community Pharmacy, Dudley, West Midlands.