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Gratitude – but not the cliché Thanksgiving kind…yet!

It’s fall and I’ve got my favorite fall nail color on, five cans of pumpkin in our pantry, our cozy blankets at the ready, and I ate an apple at lunch; it’s official. The two other things that come to mind when I think of fall are the PSW Board Retreat and “back to school”. I’m using this month’s blog post to reflect on both with a heart full of gratitude.

During the PSW Board Retreat each year, the volunteer leadership and staff of PSW take some time away to think strategically on issues that need a bit more concentrated time than a typical Board meeting provides. I’ve had the privilege to plan and participate in PSW Board Retreats since 2007; each year is memorable. Each year I’m filled with gratitude for the time, energy, and reflection that the PSW Board members and members of the Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation Board invest in the retreat process. It’s inspiring and fills me with optimism for the future of the organization and our profession.

This year’s Board Retreat will also be memorable for me; my first as CEO of PSW. This year’s retreat has morphed into a virtual one-day strategic planning event taking place later this week on Zoom. And, while our sessions will be on screen and in virtual breakout rooms, there will still be important discussions happening with talented and committed professionals wanting the very best for the future of PSW. I know this year’s strategic planning day, while not our full retreat format, will fill the PSW leadership with optimism to meet the challenges of “unprecedented times.”

As we have prepared and reflected prior to our work this week, I’m struck by how PSW is valuable because our members create the value within PSW. To a person, those we talked with in focus group conversations leading up to this week shared that what they value from PSW comes from what others share and bring to PSW. I’m filled with the feeling of gratitude for the commitment our members show to their patients and our profession through networking, collaboration, and information sharing. We learn so much from one another and go so much farther together because of it.

The other fall component of this post…“back to school”. Wow it looks different this year, but I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the teachers and faculty members that have taken the word “pivot” to a new level. If you want to be inspired to embrace these times and be resilient, you don’t have to look much farther than your kiddo on a Zoom call with their class or waving to you at the bus stop in a mask. In our house Zoom third-grade has been going well for our daughter. I’m thankful for teamwork in families, neighborhoods, and daycare centers. I’m humbled by the resources we have to make this work (or at least to get through it). We are blessed beyond measure compared to those with many more challenges during this time.

While healthcare is facing great challenge, we can embrace challenge with resiliency, work as a team, and be thankful for what we have.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

Post-blog comment: As I write this, Wisconsin is on a scary COVID-19 trajectory. Let’s support our patients in helping them understand how serious this is. I know; I’m tired of it too, but physical distancing, masks, and hand washing are our best public health tools right now. Let’s take care of each other.

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