Yuqi and Ramona in pharmacy
Yuqi Liang (L) and Ramona Samonis, among the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's "BRITE Lights," help colleagues build resilience into their day-to-day work. (Photo: UHN)

High volume of patients and long pick-ups times; it was another bustling day at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Pharmacy.

As a pharmacist, Yuqi Liang is tasked with helping patients and their families at a difficult time in their lives. Despite the weight of that, she's known for her chipper attitude and positive demeanor behind the counter.

On this day, the situation shifted.

A woman who Yugi recognized approached the counter – a family member of a patient Yuqi had often helped serve.

She asked Yuqi if she could return some medication and disclosed why she wouldn't be needing it: her husband had passed away.

"Her eyes were filled with tears," Yuqi recalls. "I was shocked.

"When someone tells you they've lost a family member, you really don't know what to say."

Using BRITE to help bounce back

Yuqi offered condolences and safely disposed of the medication.

Then, she turned to the next patient.

"I was trying to move on because of the (high) patient volumes, but I realized that I couldn't go back to my normal self. I didn't feel like I could provide the same level of care."

Yugi stepped into the lunch room, where her manager and colleague noticed something was wrong.

"They gave me a big hug and told me to take a moment. Even though it was really busy, they said 'go outside, breathe a bit and come back.'"

With those words of encouragement, she stepped outside to get some fresh air.

Yuqi holds up R.A.I.N. Cloud
Yuqi Liang with her R.A.I.N. Cloud, a decorative cloud posted in the lunch room to help remind colleagues that it's okay to pause and recover from difficult news. (Photo: UHN)

Resiliency in the face of heavy emotion is a challenge. In the hospital setting, there often seems like no time or place to recover from the sting of bad news.

With the help of her colleagues, Yuqi was able to create a moment for herself to deploy an important BRITE tactic: R.A.I.N. She Recognized the moment that triggered her, Allowed herself to experience it fully, Investigated why it impacted her, and Nourished herself with a moment away from the desk.

BRITE is a UHN-wide initiative to help staff members develop resilience in their day-to-day practice.

At the Princess Margaret, Yugi is now one of the pharmacy's "BRITE Lights," helping remind her colleagues that they are allowed to pause and focus on their own well-being.

"When we're so busy taking care of patients, we have to recognize our needs as well," she says.

"Everyone has their own way of coping, but BRITE helps us better recognize what we need to do and when."

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