Nurses are not the only medical professionals that are overworked and frustrated with staffing issues in the healthcare industry. Pharmacists have long voiced similar frustrations and, in October of 2023, many of them took action. This action was in the form of Pharmageddon, a form of peaceful protest where pharmacists from major retailers walked out of the pharmacy over a span of three days.
Why did pharmacists participate in Pharmageddon?
To bring attention to the issue. Years and years of perceived inaction and a snowball effect of rising expectations while serving as a pharmacist led many to hit a breaking point. As more and more pharmacists face burnout, Pharmageddon served as a way to better ensure public awareness and push for change.
Why is burnout a problem within this industry?
Burnout manifests as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Recognizing these signs early is the first step in addressing the potential for burnout before it becomes a problem. Emotional exhaustion can manifest when feeling drained and fatigued, depersonalization can result in developing a cynical attitude towards patients or colleagues, and a reduced sense of accomplishment can result in pharmacists feeling like their work is no longer making a difference.
When combined, these natural responses to burnout can result in harm to patients. In addition to patient harm, burnout can result in mistakes that an put your professional license at risk such as a HIPAA violation if not alert and carefully navigating discussions with patients.
How can I reduce the risk of burnout?
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise, good sleep habits and other steps to take care of essential selfcare, a positive work culture can also reduce burnout. This can serve to encourage open communication and support among colleagues. Some examples to help achieve this goal can include:
- Team building: Engage in activities that build camaraderie.
- Peer support: Establish a system where pharmacists can talk about their challenges.
- Recognition: Celebrate successes, no matter how small.
Continued learning and professional development can also be beneficial as it can renew your sense of purpose and keep you engaged. You can achieve this by attending workshops and seminars to help stay current with the latest in pharmacy practice.
Burnout is a serious issue for pharmacists, but it’s not inevitable. By recognizing the signs, prioritizing self-care, fostering a supportive workplace, setting boundaries, and staying engaged, you can maintain your well-being and continue to thrive in your career. Remember, taking action to prevent burnout is not only beneficial for you but also for the patients who rely on your expertise and care.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.