Take steps to prevent and manage burnout
Jonathan Beatty is a third-year PharmD candidate at the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy.
Burnout, a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, has become a pervasive concern in the health care profession. Pharmacists and student pharmacists are not immune to this issue, as evidenced by the notable uptick in reported cases of work-related burnout in recent years. The demanding nature of the work, coupled with long hours, high stress levels, and increasing workload, has contributed to the significant rise in burnout among pharmacists and student pharmacists.
Experiencing fatigue and struggling to find the motivation and energy to perform daily tasks are some of the warning signs. Burnout can also manifest in emotional symptoms such as irritability, cynicism, and detachment from work and personal life. Additionally, affected pharmacy professionals may face difficulties in concentrating, have decreased job satisfaction, and experience a decline in their overall mental and physical health.1
Taking proactive steps to prevent and manage burnout is crucial, and self-care strategies can play a vital role in achieving this.
Integrating self-care into your routine
Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation are all important components of self-care. Prioritizing mental health by seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals is also essential. By integrating these self-care strategies into your daily routine, you can reduce stress, boost energy levels, and improve overall well-being, helping to prevent burnout and promote a healthy work–life balance.2
While finding time for yourself can be difficult, I try to make some time each day for self-care. I personally enjoy taking my dog for long walks, painting along with Bob Ross, and playing games online with my friends. These are just a few activities that help me clear my mind and cope with stress.
Support for those in recovery
However, while prioritizing self-care is crucial for preventing burnout, it’s equally important to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. Some individuals may resort to drugs or alcohol to manage stress and emotional exhaustion, which may provide temporary relief but can lead to addiction and dependence over time. Substance use disorder can have severe consequences on an individual’s physical and mental health as well as their personal and professional life.
The Pharmacy Recovery Network (PRN) is a voluntary, peer-based support system that provides a supportive community for pharmacists and student pharmacists in recovery from substance use disorders, helping them navigate the unique challenges of recovery while working in the health care field. Each state has its own autonomous network that provides an individualized program tailored to meet the specific pharmacy professional’s needs without jeopardizing their license or career.3
Seeking help is a sign of strength
As health care professionals, pharmacists need to recognize the signs of burnout and take proactive steps to prevent and manage it. By integrating self-care strategies and seeking support when needed, individuals can maintain their well-being and continue to provide high-quality care to their patients. For those who are struggling with addiction, recovery programs like PRN offer hope and a path to healing without sacrificing their professional aspirations.
Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and it is never too late to start on the road to recovery!
- CDC. Healthcare workers: Work stress & mental health. Atlanta: CDC. Available at: www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/healthcare/workstress.html. Accessed May 3, 2023.
- CDC. Support for public health workers and health professionals. Atlanta: CDC. Available at: www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/public-health-workers/index.html. Accessed May 3, 2023.
- USA Pharmacy Recovery Network. Pharmacists Recovery Network. N.d.: Charlie Broussard. Available at: usaprn.org/. Accessed May 5, 2023.