5 Mistakes That Cause Pharmacist Burnout

5 Mistakes That Cause Pharmacist Burnout by Elements magazine | pbahealth.com

As an independent community pharmacy owner or manager, you wear a lot of hats. Owner. Manager. Provider. Purchaser. Accountant. Marketer. Adviser. Techno-wizard. You name it.

Those hats can get heavy.

And hot.

Especially if you make one mistake. Then two. Then three…

Sometimes, you don’t even realize you’ve made a mistake but you can feel the burn of its consequences.

Loss of motivation, emotional depletion, exhaustion.

Your pharmacy can feel it too.

It hurts your bottom line. And it makes you want to quit.

But don’t worry—relief is on the way.

Avoid these five mistakes to combat job burnout.

1. Isolating yourself (or letting your employees isolate themselves)

When you’re busy, it’s easy to keep your head down until the workday ends.

Or to ignore others when you’re having a bad day.

Isolation breeds discontent, detachment and inertia.

When you isolate yourself (even to get things done), it also harms your employees, your patients and the business. Same goes for your employees.

Deep and positive engagement with others fosters joy, well-being and productivity.

Engage with people more deeply and more often with these approaches:

  • Take short breaks. Converse with others and give them your full attention.
  • Eat lunch out with your employees or co-workers. (If that’s not possible, surprise your team with coffee or donuts.)
  • Host an office party to celebrate a birthday, sales quota, etc.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities, like happy hour, a recreational league or an event.
  • Be mindful. Know when you or one of your employees has been too isolated.


2. Letting others affect your attitude

Nothing grinds on you as much as rude, disgruntled patients.

You’re improving their health, and they’re killing yours.

If you don’t have strategies to deflect their negativity, you’ll burn out quickly.

Cultivate ongoing positivity with these practices:

  • Express gratitude daily. Reflect on, and even write down, what you’re grateful for. This will store positive emotions in your brain and shape your attitude.
  • Give patients the benefit of the doubt. Empathize with discourteous patients. Imagine, for example, how they might be having a horrible day and are struggling to keep it together. Breed compassion rather than anger.
  • Challenge yourself to brighten the patient’s day. Kindness and positivity are contagious. And demonstrating these emotions will also improve how you feel.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Being around upbeat co-workers can improve your well-being and cultivate a positive outlook, so you’ll be less likely to let those negative patients affect you.


3. Losing sight of your dream

Why did you become a pharmacist?

If your current operations aren’t helping you achieve your dream, you won’t feel fulfilled.

Job burnout most often occurs when you don’t find your work meaningful and fulfilling.

Instead of fueling and exciting you, work drains you. Instead of engaging and satisfying you, work drags you down.

Ask yourself what your core values are and if what you’re doing achieves them.

Reevaluate your business strategy to ensure it aligns with your dream.

4. Neglecting self-care

When you’re caring for others, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself.

In some circles, it’s considered a virtue. After all, you’re sacrificing yourself to serve others, right?

But self-care is essential to better care for your patients. When you neglect yourself, you set yourself up for job burnout and limit your ability to serve others.

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it must include activities that replenish your physical and emotional energy.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you spending time with the people you care about?
  • Are you spending time doing activities that bring you joy?
  • Do you find ways to relax your mind and body?


Then, try these common practices to promote well-being:

  • Mediation
  • Journaling
  • Spending time in nature
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating nutritiously
  • Exercising daily
  • Interacting socially
  • Doing a hobby


5. Working too much

You have a lot to do but not a lot of time.

So you work until you fizzle out.

Working extra hours every now and then can drain you, but chronic overwork causes job burnout.

Many factors cause chronic overwork. Are any of these at the root of your job burnout?

Trying to control too much
Pharmacy owners and managers sometimes find delegating difficult. So you give yourselves more than one person can handle. Assess what tasks you’re doing that you can entrust to your staff.

Using inefficient systems
Outdated technology or inefficient workflow adds unnecessary work for you. See what you can automate, and reevaluate your workflow to cut out inefficiencies.

Doing more than you need
You set goals for your pharmacy for a reason. Make sure you don’t overreach. Ask yourself if a task is necessary to achieve your goals or if you’re overreaching.

Being understaffed
Sometimes there’s too much to do and not enough people to do it. Assess whether you need to invest in more employees to help bear the burden and improve productivity.


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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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