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How to Avoid Burnout as a Pharmacist

  • September 29, 2022
  • RPh on the Go

What is Pharmacist Burnout?

Pharmacist burnout is feeling physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion related to the job. You may develop a negative viewpoint and lose your ability to care for your patients and coworkers. Eventually, you’ll start to wonder if you are even making a difference, and you may consider leaving your job.

Pharmacy burnout is real, and it affects many people in the profession. One study showed that the pharmacist burnout rate is 61.2%, a startling statistic demonstrating how pervasive this problem is.

Causes of Pharmacist Burnout

There are many contributing factors to job burnout for pharmacists. They include:

  • Prolonged stress. Most people can manage short periods of work stress just fine, but when the pressure becomes relentless, and you’re facing staffing shortages, ringing phones, and frustrated patients daily, it becomes much more challenging to manage.
  • Poor work-life balance. If your pharmacy is understaffed and you’re overworked, you might not have the time to do the things you enjoy doing outside of work. Poor work-life balance quickly leads to burnout, whether you’re working too much to have any time off or you’re too tired when you get home to do anything fun.
  • Feeling undervalued. If you’ve been working harder than usual and putting in more hours to cover open shifts, and you’re not getting any recognition, you might wonder, what’s the point?
  • Lack of support and community. If you’re working long hours, chances are all of your coworkers are, too. When everyone is overworked and over-stressed, it affects how the team interacts. If you feel like you don’t have the support of your coworkers or have reached a point when you feel you don’t have enough motivation to support them, it quickly leads to burnout.

Signs to Look out for

How do you know if you’re burned out? Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you have pharmacy burnout symptoms.

  1. Are you more cynical about work?
  2. Is it harder for you to motivate yourself to go to work?
  3. Are you more irritable with your coworkers and patients?
  4. Do you lack the energy to be productive?
  5. Is it hard for you to concentrate?
  6. Do you no longer find the job rewarding?
  7. Are you compensating for your negative feelings about work by using alcohol, food, or drugs to cope?
  8. Have your sleep habits changed?
  9. Do you have unexplained stomach problems, headaches, or general aches and pains?

How to Prevent Pharmacist Burnout

The best way to prevent pharmacy burnout is to be proactive.

If you’re feeling burned out at work, speak up. It’s very likely some of your coworkers also have similar feelings, and talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can help. Talk to your manager, too. If they don’t know how you feel, nothing will ever change.

Have realistic expectations, and do the best you can. If your pharmacy is dealing with increased demand, supply shortages, and short staffing, things may not improve quickly. Do self-care as much as possible by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, and don’t forget to take care of yourself mentally, too. Try yoga, and make time for reading or listening to your favorite podcast. Plan dinner dates with your significant other, or meet your best friends for brunch.

Perhaps the best way to prevent burnout is to choose your employer wisely. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a pharmacy that doesn’t treat you well.

Final Thoughts

Pharmacist burnout is a real problem, and it can be challenging to figure out how to cope. Burnout is a complicated problem, and there is no one solution, but a change of scenery might be all you need to feel reinvigorated in your career. If you’re looking for a change, consider being a travel pharmacist. You’ll get to travel, see the country, and experience new and exciting things while working at pharmacies that really need your help.

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