It’s time to acknowledge the epidemic of pharmacist burnout

I didn’t write this. A fellow pharmacist did, but I certainly can understand her. To all my other fellow pharmacists, can you relate? Moreover, she has some suggestions to help with burnout. We need to take care of ourselves because we know some of the people we work for/with don’t think about our good.


I realized I was suffering from a burnout after I have snapped at my patient. This occurred after I have already worked an 8-hour shift in a fast pace specialty pharmacy, processing orders that were needed for severe infections, cancer patients, or patients in palliative care.  All of these orders required special attention. After a day of exhaustion, I was called to help out a local retail pharmacy.

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About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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10 Responses to It’s time to acknowledge the epidemic of pharmacist burnout

  1. Jules says:

    There is a burn-out in every field. I know I could not go back into teaching – not even small groups.
    After raising my own and now the grands I don’t need or want to have to deal with parents who think their children can do no wrong. Like the little four year old who was a biter – and the father wouldn’t believe any of us teachers who had witnessed her nasty behavior.

    Hubby will also never volunteer to coach any sports again. Where parents can’t understand that the sport is supposed to teach, well sportsmanship and not favor the raw talent that will win every game.

    Drugopinions makes very valid points for anyone in any field. We need to take care of ourselves and know when to say no to extra time – even if the pay seems like a good lure. I worked in retail and for awhile said yes to anytime I was asked to work. So much so that it was expected I would do so when asked. So the first time I said ‘no’ it was not received well. Another time because of a change in management I was expected to do things that I wasn’t hired for and told my sub boss that I wasn’t going to do what was requested. She told me to tell the head honcho and I said, that’s your job not mine and walked away. We need to recognize our health has to be our number one priority or we will be unable to fairly address anyone else.


  2. Jo Price says:

    This really is a huge problem. Oddly enough, I know multiple pharmacists, and I’m stunned at the way retail pharmacy in particular just burns through their people. High stress from the clients and high turnover in support staff seems to be the norm. Do you think that this is just the wha it is, or is there a better way? Or is compounding the only sane route because it goes at a more reasonable pace?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your profound observations, Jo. I think there may be a better way, but the powers-that-be will always push for more production (vaccinations, prescriptions, MTM, etc.) with less (staff). Something has to give. By the way, I loved the compounding I got to do over the years, but many pharmacists didn’t just because of time constraints. Alas… ~nan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jo Price says:

        I always think of compounding as the dream pharma gig, but maybe it’s like art – we all see it differently. I do wish that the other opportunities were less stressful. It’s such an important job and so many people get burnt out way too quickly with the mad pace and grinding hours. Best wishes to you honey. Jo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jo,
    I am basically retired now, but I still have my license. I miss all the people, but not all the grief that goes with burnout. I miss compounding, too. Are you a pharmacist by any chance? ~nan


  4. The art of pharmacy depends on” at peak performance”, the whole work day long. One’s output is “by the piece”, where much of production is rote, while the mind must be ever vigilant. Intensity is interrupted to deliver empathetic but knowledgeable interactions with persons in need. I’m a long retired retail pharmacist, turned proprietary bench researcher, turned substitute teacher, turned clinical trial researcher, turned author. Retail was the most rewarding, especially in a small town pharmacy. It was the 2 AM calls to attend the burglar alarms, that spoiled. The public has no idea of the retailer’s plight.


    • Understand that, and agree with your assessment about pharmacy. I have done all that including the 2AM calls. I am also a long retired pharmacist (8 years and counting), but keep my license up to date with continuing education, etc. and find myself volunteering in various capacities (the library, an estuary research facility) and working part-time at the local board of elections during Early/Absentee Voting, and writing (two books of poetry to date).

      Best wishes on your continued life after pharmacy; thanks for stopping by and with your comments about knowledgable take on our pharmacy profession. ~nan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An awesome collection of post-pharmacy activity.


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