Looking After You Too Case Study: Michael – Practice Pharmacist

Michael is a part-time practice-based pharmacist in Leicester. For Michael, the main impact of COVID-19 was the limited face-to-face interaction with other practice staff and patients.

Role and context

Michael is a part-time practice-based pharmacist based in Leicester. At the time of the interview Leicester was experiencing its second period of lockdown, but the practice was based outside of the lockdown catchment area. He has been at his practice for over three years. Michael described the practice as being “moderately hit” with COVID-19, more at the beginning of the lockdown period, and he was one of the practice staff who had to go into a period of social isolation.

Challenge of COVID-19 on own wellbeing

For Michael, the main impact of COVID-19 was the limited face-to-face interaction with other practice staff and patients. Consultations with patients were transferred to triage via the telephone and virtual consultations, and some of his more ‘back office’ roles were completed remotely.

Although the practice ensured that the staff had technology and ‘set-up’ to work remotely, Michael described that some aspects of his role were difficult to fully complete remotely, and that he felt a sense of “just letting people down in the tasks that are harder to do when working from home.”

He found adjusting to the changes difficult at first, often questioning whether he was working productively, living up to the expectations of other practice staff, and whether requests were being completed in a timely manner.

He says: “I was finding things really hard, I was getting behind, beginning to feel really stressed and undertaking tasks but not really caring. I was concerned about my wellbeing and the implications this was having for my work.”

How #LookingAfterYouToo coaching helped

Michael was keen to discuss his concerns regarding his assertiveness in negotiations as he felt that in practice discussions he was easily persuaded to undertake tasks that he knew other people could complete more efficiently, and that he was unnecessarily putting pressure on himself. The impact of COVID-19 and the change in practice interactions highlighted these behaviours further.

Michael explained that “the coach just asked all the right questions to get to the centre of the issue, he actively listened and was engaged in what I was saying.” They discussed a range of scenarios and talked about a range of techniques through which interactions could be improved, by using simple tactics including: questioning what the roles actually required; why others thought that he would be best placed to complete the tasks, and offering alternative options or solutions to resolve situations.

Michael had also recognised that tasks were taking longer as he was becoming susceptible to procrastination. The coach helped him to focus on one task and to remain in control of what he was currently doing and then he would recognise when he wasn’t fully concentrating on the task in hand. Michael had five #LookingAfterYouToo sessions and would not hesitate to recommend the service to others.

Impact of the coaching

Michael provided a range of practical examples of how the coaching had improved service delivery and negotiation abilities, as well as reducing the feelings of stress and pressure that he was experiencing. Going forward, Michael is going to continue to use the resources that the coach provided in the sessions as he wants this to lead to sustained behaviour change and recognises that it is down to him to continue practising what he has learnt.

He says: “I am now more on top of things… it makes me feel so positive when I notice what I am doing and can put the coaching into practice. I can’t undo what I know now… how I feel and the changes in my work behaviour is virtually all down to the coaching and talking to the coach. I really don’t know where I would be without this.”