Bringing Pharmacists ‘Back from the Brink’ of Burnout

Posted By: franchise | March 13, 2018
Stressed Out Pharmacist Feature

For high-achieving independent pharmacists and their corporate counterparts, the circumstances that lead to burnout on the job are fairly common. Most point to overwhelming workloads, exponential distractions and a shortage in support staff, among others. Those problems aren’t going away anytime soon, but they are causing some critically damaging side effects to the practitioners themselves—right here, right now. The stressed pharmacist side-effect needs to be addressed. 

Studies have shown that stressed-out pharmacists are more prone to exhaustion, lack of sleep, intense anxiety and frustration. They’re also at greater risk of becoming depressed, irritable and overweight—conditions which, of course, can lead to high-cholesterol, stroke and heart disease. Perhaps even more concerning are statistics that suggest “burnout” is not only responsible for increasing healthcare costs as much as $125 billion a year, but also may contribute to as many as 120,000 deaths annually.

Definitely NOT what the doctor ordered.

No doubt that under the pressure of filling hundreds of prescriptions a day, many pharmacists bear the brunt of the weight nobly, but with one eye on changing professions. In many cases, the work environment itself simply isn’t conducive toward building enjoyable and sustainable long-term careers.

Breaking down the top factors leading to the breakdown

If you’re among the 70% of pharmacists who have reported experiencing job stress and overload, as cited in a 2004 survey by David A. Mott of the University of Wisconsin, you’re obviously in good company. Here are several elements that deserve special discussion:

Driven to Distraction

The phones are ringing, there’s endless chatter, interruptions and unexpected requests of all kinds. Literally hundreds of things can push the average pharmacist off-task, but they have to remain focused 100% of the time. When the inevitable distraction happens, it can take as much as 25 minutes to bring full attention back to the original task, according to a University of California study. Doesn’t do much for job satisfaction at the end of the day.


Multi-tasking to a Fault 

You don’t see “plate-spinners” much anymore, but the act was impressive although it looked simple. The “spinner” would be in a seated position, spinning plates on top of small poles attached to the body. It was always fun, up until the moment it all came crashing down. Today’s pharmacist plays a similar part, only when his or her “plates” fall, potentially life-threatening mistakes can be made. Too much on anyone’s plate is simply too much.


The Time Crunch 

Pharmacists must be exacting about everything they do. It takes an extraordinary amount of mental focus to get things right the first time, every time. Unfortunately, that takes time. Yet, one of the biggest complaints is that not enough of it is allocated for many given tasks. That often means rushing through complex matters in favor building up favorable “production” numbers. It’s a compromise that really gets under the skin.


Training that Falls Flat

Most believe pharmacists are prepared for every hurdle they encounter on a daily basis —only to be surprised when there is a hiccup. In many quarters, fixated solely on dollars and cents, management just doesn’t have the back of its people. The shortfall in training is often obvious to customers and usually a main reason why they don’t come back.


Benzer Pharmacy knows that independent pharmacist’s are the key community resource to help create a better quality of life for the public. We believe getting back to the things that make people want to be pharmacists in the first place is the right place to start. Nobody wants to be the assistant slave with too much to do and such little time, like in “Devil Wears Prada”. Pharmacists should be the decision makers and not worry about the exhausting tasks as much as they do now. 

So, we encourage those who have the means to join us as a Benzer Pharmacy Franchisee. Joining the Benzer family can bring you back to square one, allowing you to focus on what you do best. Helping others live healthier lives. 

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