Oncology/Hematology Pharmacists Report High Levels of Burnout


Findings presented at the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting 2021 discussed burnout and job dissatisfaction among oncology and hematology pharmacists.


Oncology and hematology pharmacists experience high levels of occupational burnout, according to the results of a survey presented at the at the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting 2021.

The findings, which were presented during a poster presentation on April 13, depicted the prevalence of burnout among hematology/oncology pharmacists in a first-of-its-kind evaluation specifically for this group of healthcare professionals. The study also assessed factors associated with a higher or lower level of burnout in this sample.

A total of 3024 pharmacist and resident HOPA members were invited to participate in an anonymous, web-based survey via email in the fall of 2020. The used the Masiach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Well-Being Index (WBI), and items that explored occupation and sociodemographic factors.

A total of 18% of pharmacists completed the WBI and were included in the analysis. According to the results, 61.8% of respondents reported symptoms of burnout, as defined by a high score on the emotional exhaustion (EE ≥27) or depersonalization (DP ≥ 10) scale of the MBI.

Additionally, 20.2% of respondents were concerned that they made a major medical error within the past 3 months. “This could have serious adverse consequences in patients receiving antineoplastics,” the study authors wrote.

Factors that were associated with a high level of reported burnout included:

  • increasing age;
  • more hours worked per week;
  • more administrative hours per week;
  • lack of awareness of wellness programs;
  • concern for a major medical error within 3 months; and
  • decreased wellness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among those who reported high burnout, 62.7% felt they would benefit from a wellness program. However, 30.5% were not aware of available awareness programs.

Higher levels of reported burnout were also associated with respondents reporting a high likelihood of leaving their position in the next 2 years. Moreover, factors that commonly increased work dissatisfaction were role conflict, quantity of work, workflow disruptions, organizational culture, and leadership support. This is particularly important because loss of clinical expertise and recruitment/onboarding costs can be detrimental for organizations, the authors reported.

Overall, the authors concluded that organization leaders should work to develop meaningful interventions to prevent and mitigate burnout among hematology/oncology pharmacists.


  1. Golbach AP, McCullough KB, Soefje SA, Mara KC, et al. Evaluation of burnout in a national sample of hematology/oncology pharmacists. Presented at: Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting 2021; virtual; April 13.

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