In every sector of science that mankind excels in, peers recognize exceptional individuals and achievements. These acknowledgments strengthen the sector and express appreciation for the talented individuals who so often change our lives.
Even before the pandemic ravaged the nation, pharmacists across the United States were experiencing significant burnout and mental fatigue based on the metrics & expectations of their employers in the retail pharmacy chain sector of the industry. The pandemic compounded the issue of pharmacist burnout and has caused hundreds of pharmacists to question their choice of careers based on the stress they experience daily.
In a recent article from Crain’s Chicago Business, Dr. Maurice Shaw PharmD was quoted saying that he struggled to keep pace with surging demand for flu shots, answer constantly ringing phones, fill prescriptions and fetch front-end items such as milk and hair dye for drive-thru customers who were afraid to enter the store. By October, he could take no more.
‘There’s no way I can keep working here because this is just too much.’ And that was without COVID vaccines.”
Shaw now works at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy. Dr. Elizabeth H. Padgett, PharmD participated in research published in the May 2020 edition of U.S. Pharmacist titled “Pharmacist Burnout and Stress” where she outlines data collected regarding the impact the pandemic has had on retail chain pharmacists.
While burnout in traditional occupations focuses on the well-being of the individual worker, burnout in the healthcare setting must also consider the potential negative effects on patients’ healthcare outcomes. Pharmacy technicians are under similar stresses within the retail pharmacy space & experience burnout and mental breakdowns from the high volume of work expected with a shortage of staff during flu season.
It’s been a rough 18 months in pharmacy. Pharmacists in consultant roles focusing on geriatric care, pharmacists in the specialty sector, and hospital pharmacy technicians and the pharmacists they help are not spared from the incredible amount of pressure the pandemic has placed on their roles.
In a recent interview with Pharmacy Times®, Melissa Santibañez, PharmD, BCCCP, critical care clinical pharmacist at Memorial Regional Hospital, said understanding the impact of burnout is essential. Santibañez said there is a lack of data on this subject, especially among subsets of pharmacists such as hematology and oncology pharmacists.
She believes the high prevalence of burnout is largely because of 3 components: high emotional exhaustion, high levels of disconnect from colleagues, and a lower sense of personal accomplishment or satisfaction. According to Santibañez,
“Pharmacists, just like any other health care provider and professional, have direct patient care at the core of everything that we do on a daily basis, no matter what setting we work in. That high responsibility comes with very severe implications if we are not managing all of the aspects of our jobs in a healthy manner.”
Since 2009, the Pharmacy Podcast Network (PPN) has advocated for the pharmacist and pharmacy professional. Founder and CEO Todd Eury who began his pharmacy career in 2004 recognized a need for an audio publication that catered specifically to the pharmacy profession.
In the last 12 years, the Pharmacy Podcast Network has blossomed into the leading audio publication within healthcare focused on pharmacy and the publication now has more than 40 participating podcast hosts focused on a multitude of themes and topics regarding the clinical, business, and continuing education for the pharmacy professional.
Eury, an avid podcaster & audio learner, created an awards program to honor his profession, the ’50 Most Influential Leaders in Pharmacy’. It sets out to inspire and advocate for the pharmacy profession. According to Eury;
“It’s taken a long time to build this network and today it’s a mission to build high-quality audio to supplement the written word, continuing education, and subject matter experts in the form of podcasting. Pharmacists and the pharmacy profession get overlooked a lot in national news and the majority of the general public doesn’t realize how complex the pharmacy industry is nor what pharmacists and technicians go through every day to ensure their communities are taken care of and are kept safe”
The PPN began collecting nominations in September and will be accepting names through an online form which will be closed on November 8th, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST. After a selected panel of judges thoroughly evaluate the nominees, the organization will announce the honorees on November 15, at 12 PM ET on a Live podcast episode.
Nominations can be submitted here: https://surrvey.app/f/5fkep