A Spotlight on Pharmacy Teams and How to Support Them

A reflection on the impact of the pandemic on pharmacy teams and ways to offer help.

By: Cindy Jeter

Read time: 1 minute

Each day, a hospital worker faces the reality of working longer hours and sleeping fewer hours – a combination for burnout.

The toll on personnel at the frontline of healthcare is important to the COVID-19 story.

Almost 30% of healthcare workers have considered leaving the profession altogether. The pharmacy team is essential, but their role may not be as visible as doctors and nurses. The pressure on health system pharmacies during the pandemic has been enormous, with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working long hours and often in a short-staffed environment. The role of the health system pharmacy in ensuring clinical appropriateness of medications and availability when and where needed was critical – and often a matter of life and death.

Technicians often thanklessly delivered medication to patient floors, risking exposure. The risk and stress have caused some pharmacists and technicians to contemplate leaving the profession or transitioning from health system pharmacy roles.

COVID-19 elevated the role of pharmacists since knowledge of how drugs work and alternative treatments was invaluable. It also elevated pharmacists in the public eye, especially given the role they have played in COVID-19 vaccine administration.

Pharmacy technicians were not similarly recognized, although their role demands proficiency in a variety of tasks. So, how can health systems address burnout and staff shortages? Understanding and appropriately compensating technicians will go a long way toward ensuring their continued dedication. Health systems must invest in career development for their pharmacy technicians to solidify skills and encourage career longevity.

Health system pharmacies have a vital role in the community, especially as they continue to help in the delivery and administration of COVID-19 vaccinations. Acknowledging their contributions is a simple action, but one that goes a long way toward preventing burnout.