Pharmacy teams play a vital role in patient health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many pharmacy team members are facing burnout due to job stress and the impact of COVID-19. Some studies report that over 50% of pharmacists and their teams experience burnout at any given time.1 Burnout is associated with missed workdays, leaving the profession, self-reported errors, and reduced patient care.2
Avoiding burnout in the COVID-19 era will require intentional strategies from pharmacy leaders. Team appreciation tactics like pizza parties that once helped lift morale are no longer effective. Pharmacy staff wants to have the tools and time to do their jobs, and pharmacy leadership is critical to helping staff avoid burnout.
Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
In 1943, Abraham Maslow introduced the concept of a hierarchy of needs, identifying the basic human requirements that must be met for people to feel satisfied in their lives. As shown in the graphic below, the hierarchy of needs is typically shown in a pyramid, with the first level of needs on the bottom, advancing to self-actualization at the top of the pyramid.3
Psychological: These needs are vital to our survival and include food, water, shelter, and clothing.
Safety: The second level is more complex and includes financial security, health and wellness, and physical safety.
Love/belonging: The third level includes social connections, friendships, love, acceptance, and belonging.
Esteem: The fourth level includes appreciation and respect from others.
Self-actualization: At the top of the pyramid, the individual feels fulfilled and achieves their highest potential.
Human needs are met from the bottom of the pyramid up. Once a category of needs is met, the individual moves to the next level. Ideally, everyone achieves self-actualization where they are living and working at the top of their game and feeling satisfaction from doing so.
Tips for Pharmacy Leaders
Here are some ways that pharmacy leaders can help their team members alleviate burnout and feel satisfaction in their jobs:
- Create a positive work environment where team members feel valued and supported for all they do
- Offer an “open door” policy where team members can talk to their pharmacy leadership privately and confidentially
- Designate hospital counseling services for team members to access when needed
- Identify strategies to manage workload; this is an area where CPS TELEpharmacy can help
American Pharmacist Association
The American Pharmacist Association (APhA) has developed resources to keep pharmacists inspired and combat workout. APhA guidance4 states that the well-being and resiliency of pharmacists and pharmacy personnel are preserved and the delivery of their services optimized when they:
- Are enabled to be effective healthcare providers who are valued, respected, and supported by payers, patients, policy-makers, employers, and members of the healthcare team
- Can fully utilize their education, knowledge, and training to positively impact patients’ lives and the effectiveness of the healthcare team
- Have administrative burdens decreased and/or made manageable by appropriate support from management/employers
- Can practice in supportive environments with adequate resources (including sufficient staff) to perform their patient care services
- Have coverage for the medication use process supports and encourage the provision of quality patient care services
- Regularly engage in their profession and establish collegial relationships with pharmacists outside of their own practice site
- Are empowered to identify and achieve their work-life balance by aligning personal and well-being goals with their chosen workplace
In addition, the APhA has created a tool for pharmacist well-being and burnout that is available here: https://www.pharmacist.com/wellbeing.
Offloading Pharmacy Work
CPS TELEpharmacy can help by alleviating pressure on pharmacy staff and providing support to create some breathing room during times of increased volume. Working from a secure, licensed pharmacy location, the CPS TELEpharmacy team can provide support nationwide 24/7/365 that operates seamlessly with the hospital pharmacy. Our teams provide:
- Remote Order Entry – Supports pharmacy staffing augmentation and flexibility
- Admission Medication Reconciliation – Allows your staff to commit greater focus to patient care
- Transitions of Care – Reduces readmissions and improves HCAHPS scores and STAR ratings
- Patient Discharge Consultation – Ensures the patient has the appropriate medications and helps prevent medication-related readmissions
- Processes 3 million medication orders a year
- Intervenes on 200 medication orders daily
- Prevents medication errors 3.6x a day
- Averages 45% reduction in pharmacy operating costs
- Meets The Joint Commission, CMS, and HIPAA regulations, as well as state regulatory agency requirements
To find out how CPS TELEpharmacy can help during times of high volume while supporting reduced readmissions, lower costs, and improved clinical outcomes, contact:
1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8043093/. Accessed 3.22.22.
3 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-4136760. Accessed 3.22.22.
4 https://www.pharmacist.com/Advocacy/Well-Being-and-Resiliency/APhA-Statement-on-Commitment-to-the-Well-being-and-Resiliency-of-Pharmacists-and-Pharmacy-Personnel. Accessed 3.31.22.