Taking a step back and enabling others to help in the workplace were key lessons learned by a pharmacy business manager who won a reality TV competition in which she raced across Canada.
But while Cathie Rowe (Left) had hoped the experience would enable her to re-evaluate her work-life balance, she said the busy workload in community pharmacy and the ‘pressure to diversify’ service offerings had meant realistically not much would change.
Following a ‘shock’ win on the BBC’s Race Across the World programme with her best friend Tricia Sail, Ms Rowe – who runs two pharmacies with her pharmacist husband Gareth in Wales – has spoken to The Pharmacist.
The show, which was filmed last summer and aired earlier this year, saw the pair set off from Vancouver and become the first among five teams to reach the finish line in Newfoundland on a limited budget and without smartphones.
‘It was absolutely amazing,’ Ms Rowe said about their win. ‘We didn’t expect it. It was a real shock. I didn’t really have any words.’
Asked of her highlight of the trip, which lasted more than 50 days, she described taking a moment to herself in Jade City.
‘I just took a moment out and went down and stood by the lake. The lake was still frozen, not a cloud in the sky, surrounded by these beautiful mountains,’ she said.
‘It was a very precious moment because it was silent. Pharmacy is never quiet and just to be able to stand there just for a few minutes and take that all in and just absorb it all. That was incredible.’
In a previous interview with The Pharmacist in April as the series began to air, Ms Rowe had described how the experience had given her a new focus on work-life balance, though at the time she recognised that within pharmacy this was ‘notoriously difficult’.
A couple of months down the line, Ms Rowe described how ‘pharmacy is getting busier’ and that ‘the pressure to diversify your income is getting bigger’.
Her husband was also now considering becoming an independent prescriber (IP), she noted.
‘So, I was hoping that life had kind of calmed down a bit, but if Gareth is going to go down the IP route, then no, it’s not,’ said Ms Rowe.
She added: ‘I think Gareth and I talked a lot about work-life balance, [but] I think realistically, it's not going to change massively until we – whenever we decide to – sell the business.’
However, participating in the programme had taught her that ‘it is OK not to do everything yourself’ and to let other people help, she said.
‘But also, to learn to accept that the way other people do things is OK and that it doesn’t have to be done the way I like it to be done, as long as the result is the same, it is OK,’ added Ms Rowe, who described herself as typically a ‘perfectionist’.
This lesson learned was ‘absolutely’ transferrable to her day job in pharmacy, especially when working with new colleagues who may do things differently to her.
Meanwhile, the experience has also sparked her appetite to travel and since the show, Ms Rowe has used her cash prize to go on exciting trips abroad with her husband and family.
‘I felt that because I've won it travelling that it was only right to spend it travelling,’ she said.