A survey by Professional Pharmacists Australia has shown that pharmacists have similarly high stress levels at work just like some of the other health professionals.
The survey found that pharmacists in general, were also more stressed than the general population. The author of the study, professor Colin Chapman from Monash University’s Emeritus and his colleagues from Master Research Australasia and the Pharmacists’ Support Service suggested that the pharmacists under the age of 30 with up to 10 years of experience in the profession, reported the highest levels of stress.
The survey also highlighted that a lot of Australia’s pharmacists are not happy with their work-life balance.
How Pharmacists Can Manage Stress
Factors leading to stress
Some of the factors found that may have contributed to pharmacists’ burnout include:
- High workload to cope with
- Inadequate rewards and incentives and feeling undervalued
- Lack of a supportive workplace community
- Working in isolation or understaffed small teams
- Lack of control over the workload and outcomes
- Unfair treatment on both personal and professional level
- Mismatch of the values between the pharmacist and pharmacy
Pharmacists are one of the main pillars in the healthcare industry, their health and well-being is crucial as the quality of their care given to patients may be impacted. So how can Pharmacists better manage their stress?
Recommended methods to deal with stress
One of the main reasons contributing to the stress is a lack of adequate incentives or recognition in the work. Pharmacists should first consider talking to the pharmacy owner about this. Every owner ensures their staff can work in a safe and supported environment and if you are experiencing issues relating to your workload and the remuneration for it, being able to discuss this will be beneficial for both. It allows both to come up with a suitable solution.
Being aware of the symptoms of stress in your body will also help. In the same study findings posted by the AJP, Kate Carnell one of the respondents, said that “When it’s happening to you - when you’re struggling to sleep or to concentrate, you’re having mood swings, all the things that can go alongside like depression or palpitations with anxiety - you’ve got to recognise them in yourself.”
Meditation is a valuable and effective method to help pharmacists manage their feelings and overcome the feeling of stress. It is proven that with 10 minutes of daily meditation, you can increase the ability to detect stress levels. Additionally, practising mindfulness will also help to connect with your feelings and emotions to work your way out of it.
Self-care is also an important factor that pharmacists can use to practice with high levels of daily stress. Rest breaks throughout your day and maintaining good energy levels with nutritious and healthy food and drinking plenty of water are also great ways to support yourself.
Generally pharmacies are busy and do not support regular breaks from work throughout the day. But breaks are essential to ensure adequate concentration to accurately address patient and customer needs.
As a last suggestion, pharmacists could ring the Pharmacists’ Support Service on 1300 244 910 or try to connect to PDL with experienced pharmacists to discuss any practice issues and practical advice to help with stress.
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