Gezondheidszorg07 februari, 2024

Burnout is hitting pharmacists, too

Burnout has become a critical issue in the healthcare industry, and not just for doctors and nurses. Pharmacists experience unprecedented and increasing demands, with fewer resources to meet them, leading to high burnout rates. Stressed-out pharmacists are walking off the job, not showing up for shifts, or quitting altogether, introducing another layer of complications for patients, clinicians, and pharmacies. 

In a December 8, 2023, Scottsdale Institute webinar, Wolters Kluwer Health Pharmacist Dr. Angela German discussed pharmacist burnout and contributing factors often overlooked when looking for solutions.

I think pharmacists are often the forgotten portion of healthcare when we talk about critical shortages and clinician walkouts. But the fact of the matter is over 50% of pharmacists have demonstrated burnout and that is being evidenced in those walkouts and clinical unrest in the world of pharmacy.
Dr. Angela German, Pharmacist, Wolters Kluwer Health

Understand the factors contributing to pharmacist burnout

The pharmacist’s role is shifting, with pharmacists stepping in to fill care gaps and taking on increased responsibilities as critical members of patient care teams. Additionally, as Dr. German pointed out during the webinar, “In the healthcare setting, pharmacists have experiences similar to nurses and physicians: Excessive nonclinical duties and a lot of administrative tasks that we were really not trained to deal with.”

Factors such as staffing shortages, increased workloads, and the rising cost of drugs drive pharmacist burnout, particularly in retail settings, introducing challenges in creating future-ready pharmacies. Though these issues frequently arise in conversations about pharmacy burnout, Dr. German highlighted contributing factors that aren’t usually considered, including:

  • Loss of pharmacist autonomy
  • Mismatched key performance indicators
  • Increased moral fatigue and moral distress

During the webinar, Dr. German stated, “Drug shortages and allocation of life-saving medications to patients is something that can lead to a lot of moral fatigue and moral distress... So I think that on par with nurses and physicians, there are increasing demands on pharmacists that are pulling them away from the clinical duties that they were trained to do.”

Finding solutions to the pharmacist-burnout problem

Pharmacists have become key members of care teams. We need to help them adapt to their evolving roles while reducing stress and burnout. Aligning care across the continuum can go a long way in alleviating the challenges pharmacists confront. Implementing technology is helpful, but, as Dr. German indicated during the webinar, it’s important to ensure pharmacy leaders “understand the technologies that they're investing in and confirm that all of their employees understand all of the facets in the utilization of those technologies to ensure that we are optimizing them. So [pharmacists] can spend more time with patients.”

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the replay to hear more insights on pharmacy burnout.

Watch the video by filling out the form below.
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