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Swan Doctor

May 15, 2019 | Life

Is there a Swan Doctor in the house?


More and more people, it would seem, are having mid-life career changes. Often fed up with the humdrum nature of their work, many people are eschewing middle age to take their lives down a new path.


While well-known and multi-award-winning pharmacist, Dr Ruth Miller-Anderson, has a career that she loves, she’s also choosing middle age as the time to follow another of her great loves in life and become a life success coach!


In addition to her work at the top of the pharmacy profession in Northern Ireland, Ruth recently established herself as The Swan Doctor – and with good reason!

‘I think that, in today’s world, there are so many people out there who are trying to glide through life looking graceful and totally in control,’ says Ruth, ‘but underneath they’re paddling like mad!’

Ruth knows exactly what she is talking about, having found herself in that position some years ago.

‘I’m known for always being immaculately dressed with my make-up in place,’ she continues, ‘but a few years ago my appearance became my ‘mask’. For more than 20 years, my career path had taken me through multiple settings and directions. 

‘I’d initially worked in community pharmacy, but my interest in research led to me doing a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, where I subsequently became a lecturer. Unfortunately, at that point, things went a little awry – to put it mildly!

‘Within a short period of time, I went through a difficult divorce, faced financial ruin and literally didn’t know how I was going to get through another day. I was in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Fortunately, I got through this horrendous period with the help and support of family and friends and a life coach, who introduced to skills that I could use to sort myself out and also to an outlook on life that I had never encountered before. The tools that she provided me with got me through difficult times and I emerged from this period a much stronger person.’

This period of her life coincided with a change in career direction, which included working with GP practices, and a move into self-employment and business. In 2010, she diversified once again into hospital pharmacy in 2010 and became an associate of the Ulster University.

Determined to get through this challenging time for the sake of her daughter, and to stay strong and focused, Ruth turned to life coaching so that she could help others, who found themselves in the same situation as she had been.

‘My interest and passion for personal development had led to me starting to blog about my career and life experiences and in order to separate my blogging from my pharmacy careers, I created my ‘alter ego’: The Swan Doctor.

‘The emotional response to my story on my blog was well received and I was amazed at the number of people, who contacted me as a result of reading it, and who said ‘I could really identify with you’. My story seemed to give them hope that they could create fulfilment and success in their own lives and so my second career was born! Now, in addition to working in the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, leading on a new policy for the integration of pharmacy services, I’m able to help others to become graceful and contented professional ‘swans’.’

Now happily married for a second time and enjoying life in Mid-Ulster with her husband, Alan, and daughter Sophia, Ruth admits to being the happiest she has been in years.

‘I’ve learned a lot through having to cope with many of the challenges life has thrown onto my path and my aim now is, via blogging and coaching,  to also help others find that inner peace. Life is a never-ending journey and it won’t always be a smooth one, but, as Sophia Bush said, ‘You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously’, and I firmly believe that.’

Dr Ruth Miller-Anderson