Sparking Joy on the Front Lines

As colleagues in pharmacies, clinics and hospitals around the world continue to put their all into caring for patients with COVID-19, some people are finding unique ways to offer thoughtful support. Jessica Louie, BS ’09, PharmD ’13, has sent care packages to more than 1,200 pharmacists and other healthcare team members through Spark Joy in Healthcare. Here, Louie shares her inspiration for her project and advice for students and healthcare professionals.

What inspired you to launch Spark Joy in Healthcare?

Spark Joy in Healthcare was started from the overwhelm and frustration I saw in burned-out pharmacists. I believe when pharmacists invest in themselves to declutter their lives and spark joy again in healthcare, everyone wins: the pharmacist, their partner, their children, their loved ones, their team members and our patients. Our mission is to spread joy in pharmacy and healthcare by creating community, mentorship, coaching and ways to thrive each day

Why did you decide to create the care packages?

When pharmacists take care of themselves, they are better equipped to take care of our patients. These care packages are for those physically working on the front lines during COVID-19. Each care package looks different, with snack foods, personal care items and notes of gratitude.

How can we better support health professionals on the front lines?

We have found that many pharmacists are dealing with fear, uncertainty and overwhelm. Pharmacists are often overlooked, even during this pandemic, as the public focuses on nurses and physicians. Organizations can have resources available for stress management and can bring in experts for online workshops. I’m doing this for 250 pharmacists in United Healthcare, discussing “5 Ways to Bring Joy Into Work” through an online workshop. The public can help our frontline healthcare workers by reaching out to check in and see how they are doing, or send them a thank you note.

Describe your current work and career highlights.

I’m passionate about helping people find confidence to live intentionally so we all create meaningful contributions to the world. I’m the founder of Clarify Simplify Align and The Burnout Doctor Podcast, where I help pharmacists and healthcare professionals get out of overwhelm and live with less clutter and more energy. I’m certified in the KonMari Method to help declutter your life. I practice as an associate professor and critical care pharmacist by day.

What advice do you have for those interested in a path similar to yours?

Invest in yourself and your continued learning journey. If you want to follow my path into entrepreneurship and podcasting, start small and start today. I began this journey in 2016 and, at first, I thought I could do everything myself, and then I realized I needed to ask for help. When I finally invested in my business coaches in 2018, it changed my perspective and I found a tribe of strong female business owners to learn from and grow with. Continue to grow your own tribe who will uplift and support you as your journey changes year after year.

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