PDA Member Voice: Being a pharmacist with schizophrenia
An anonymous rotational pharmacist and PDA Ability Network member has shared their experience of working as a pharmacist with schizophrenia. Here, they discuss the stigma attached to schizophrenia along with the challenges they have faced.
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the PDA newsletter about being a pharmacy student with schizophrenia. Since then, I have graduated, sat the registration exam, and found a permanent job as a rotational pharmacist in a local hospital.
These milestones have not been easy, and I have experienced increased symptoms, particularly around the run up to exams. There is also the stigma attached to schizophrenia which is still a poorly understood illness. Most of my colleagues are not aware of my diagnosis and have frequent conversations around psychiatric patients with sympathetic but sometimes judgemental attitudes towards patients who overdose and towards the risk of violence in people with mental health problems.
I have also encountered challenges related to GPhC registration with a drawn-out process surrounding initial registration. This involved letters and long waits from Occupational Health, my psychiatrist, and my employer. I was required to confirm that my health condition did not restrict or interrupt my working practice or prevent me from undertaking regular tasks.
Things have become easier and work have been supportive, recently allowing me reduced hours to reduce stress and allow rest, which is important for my mental health, and a ‘safe space’ to go to when overwhelmed (mine is the chaplaincy and as yet I have not had to use this). I am looking forward to starting the clinical diploma next year and hope that in the future, the workplace will become even more open to pharmacists with disabilities and mental health conditions.
By an anonymous rotational pharmacist and PDA Ability Network memberThe PDA Ability Network
The PDA Ability Network provides a safe space for members with disabilities and/or those living with mental health conditions to share their advice and experiences. The network’s mission is to enable all disabled pharmacists to realise their full potential and raise their profile by being educationally, socially, and politically active.
Pharmacists do not need to identify as having a disability to join the network, allies are also welcome. PDA Membership is FREE to pharmacy students and trainee pharmacists. PDA student and trainee pharmacists can also join a PDA Network for FREE.Get involved
- Follow the PDA Ability Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAability
- For more information about the PDA Ability Network, click here.
- If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join the PDA Ability Network here.