What Pharmacists Are Saying About Stress

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics January 2020
Volume 164
Issue 1

Let’s take a look at some of the most common issues pharmacists are facing, as seen recently on Facebook.


Social media posts show that pharmacists are more overworked and stressed out than ever.

Related: Salaries and Stress Stagnate: 2019 Pharmacy Salary Survey Results

Let’s take a look at some of the most common issues pharmacists are facing, as seen recently on Facebook.


Pharmacists are reporting enormous stress due to a hectic daily workload combined with demanding flu shot quotas. On top of filling hundreds of prescriptions daily, pharmacists are constantly being pulled from behind the counter to administer flu shots or other immunizations.

  • “The stress is unbelievable. I’m actually going to go in today and speak with my PIC. Turns out my suspicions have been correct. Although my cough is instigated by an illness, it is magnified by stress. The biggest culprit is work. There’s just an unbelievable workload. MTM, vaccines, constant training of new staff. High turnover. Good techs don’t stick around because of the low pay and high stress.”

  • “We get weekly threats on...vaccinations (we have a contract quota to uphold or ‘we’ll lose a million dollars’ lol)”.

  • “I wish everyone was competent, but that’s not the case anymore. Those of us that are, we’re burning out. The lack of help. The tight job market that makes it hard to get out. All of it. It’s hard to have high expectations when others just don’t get it, so workflow is always different depending on who’s working.”

  • “I personally don’t understand how some are doing 400 prescriptions plus 40+ vaccines in 1 day. I struggle with breaking 200 with what I have and I’m working every queue. A lot of people turn queues off, but I never feel like I can do that because my techs are usually stuck up front and that’s the only way I can get things moving forward.”

It’s not all bad news though: Some pharmacists seem relatively satisfied with their job.

Job Security

Stress isn’t the only thing pharmacists are worried about. Pharmacists are worried about job security. The prevailing worry is, “Will I be forced out and replaced with someone younger that will work for less money?” Many pharmacists are seeing this happen in the workplace, and fear for their jobs.


  • “It seems like a cycle. Increased pay rate with sign on bonuses, pharmacy schools turn out students, the market saturates, they lower the pay rate, less people enter the profession due to pay, time goes by, people retire, competitors open, there’s a demand for pharmacists, they increase the rate, market saturates, then repeat.”

  • “I got pushed out after 20 years at (my chain) and replaced by a new grad making $18 less an hour.”

  • “We need provider status, a desk, 1:4 pharmacist to tech ratio, mandatory lunch breaks, and absolutely no more opening of pharmacy schools!"

Given decreased technician hours at a time when they are needed the most, pharmacists are torn between going home at closing time or staying and working off the clock. It’s a catch- 22: those who work off the clock may be helping their team open up to a smooth morning the next day; however, many argue that working off the clock for free shows the companies that they can keep decreasing support staff hours because they see that everything is getting done. 




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