Burnout Common in Critical Care Pharmacy


Recent survey denotes high levels of burnout syndrome.

Tired Pharmacist
 Amanda M. Ball, PharmD

Amanda M. Ball, PharmD

A high rate of critical care pharmacists suffer from burnout syndrome, a recent survey says. The nationwide survey, presented at ASHP’s 2018 Midyear Clinical Meeting, found that 64% of respondents met the criteria for a high degree of burnout.

Why the burnout in pharmacy? “There’s a lot of quick decision making that needs to be done. There’s a lot of life and death. There are often these high periods of go-go-go intensity where you don’t have time to stop, you don’t have time to take a break, to eat, to do anything because patients need you,” says Amanda M. Ball, PharmD, clinical manager of Clinical and Patient Care Services at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC.

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Based on her previous research, Ball tells Drug Topics that clinical care pharmacists who have worked in the profession for five years or less have a higher risk of burnout, defined by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) as a syndrome with “a high degree of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment at work.” Critical care pharmacists who have been on the job for five years or less have a higher rate of burnout, the researchers find. However, they have not identified a reason for the early burnout, Ball says.

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