Share Your Story
“Finding the balance between having a fulfilling career in pharmacy and the hidden forces of pharmacy burnout is easier said than done. For me, I feel the most pressure is when my inbox messages start to pile up when I am in all-day meetings and unable to respond.
I cope with daily stress by being intentional and laying out my strategy for the day based on my “north star” or what is most important to me. As a leader, my purpose is growing and positioning team members to do remarkable things in advancing the pharmacy profession. I work with my team to help them identify their north star in health care.
On a personal level, every day during the week, I wake up at 4:30 am to go for a run, which is therapeutic for me. During my run, I review my day and layout an action plan for the day that will allow me to the most impactful with my time. My relationship with my wife is one of my top priorities. If I make plans with her, I do everything in my power to make those plans happen. Knowing what is important to you is key to a healthy work-life balance. “
Ryan Mills, Pharm.D., M.B.A., M.H.A., BCPS, Pharmacy Manager at Novant Health
“Through my career as a pharmacist, I felt out of harmony with the healthcare workplace. I felt a disconnect with wellness, not only with our patients but also with our healthcare providers. I saw excessive drinking and chain cigarette smoking; far too many were sedentary or had unhealthy eating habits. I realized that my coworkers were only trying to cope—with the stress, the long hours, and the compassion fatigue.
It wasn’t until I became a yoga practitioner that I started to embrace wellness beyond fitness and diet. I realized that sleep, stress, and social connection were also required to live well. Yoga allowed me to incorporate equanimity and wellness into all aspects of my life, and it felt necessary to share with my coworkers.
With the generous support of my administrators and institution, I started providing short yoga sessions for free to all Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System employees. I am grateful for the impact I make as a pharmacist in a bustling emergency department, but I also cherish sharing the benefits of yoga with my fellow healthcare workers. It brings me joy to see participants leave feeling rejuvenated and a little closer to the well-being they deserve. Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System offers my yoga sessions, Tai chi, and many other wellness resources through the Health and Wellness Committee.”
Kathryn Samai, Pharm.D., BCPS, Registered Yoga Teacher, Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacist at Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System
“Being a pharmacist at any time over the last [several] years is part and parcel with excessive stress and workplace burnout.
In the beginning, I used family time and TV to relieve stress. While useful, they did little to improve my health. About four years ago, I took up running to improve my stamina. It did that and much more!
Running proved useful for clearing [my] cluttered mind. I already had been a typical gym rat, but running improved my performance in the gym too! By coupling [fitness] with flying, tournament bowling, and contemplating a return to tournament chess, a successful work/life balance was achieved! I also realized that I will NEVER, EVER, EVER, let a job or career interfere with the more important task of being there for my family.”
Vincent Earl Pearson, Pharm.D., BCPS, Staff Pharmacist at Fort Washington Medical Center
In my first semester of pharmacy school, I was beginning to see myself experiencing signs of burnout – I was tired, having trouble concentrating, and feeling more anxiety. I found myself needing to completely change the way I managed my time and how I studied. It became very important to me to stop burnout before it hit and I found a few ways to cope. I now schedule time for myself by putting it on my calendar just like everything else. Every weekend, I pick one day that I take off from anything pharmacy school or organization related. It is my day to do with as I please – whether it is spending time with my husband and my dogs, going out with friends or family, relaxing at home, cooking, or being outdoors – it is my time. I have also started a gratitude journal which allows me to focus on the positives of each day and that makes me feel more energized and excited.
Autumn Pinard, University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, Class of 2022
As a pharmacy student, it is often easy to experience periods of extreme pressure and stress. These sentiments struck during the spring semester of my P2 year. As a means to stay connected, I started hugging my fiancé more frequently. This expanded to classmates and I found that the simple act of hugging my loved ones and fellow classmates built resiliency and a sense of camaraderie.
I then took a step back to briefly reflect on what brought me joy in life and school. I focused on the joyful rather than negative moments. Once I identified what brought me joy, I sought out those projects and events within my organizational involvement I was passionate about and found I no longer felt overwhelmed or burned out – instead, my passions and interests rejuvenated me.
Kelsie Ellis, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, Class of 2021
Dr. Buckley often includes a breathing exercise in her classes. She first introduced it while teaching a diabetes elective for third-year pharmacy students in the spring of 2017 — and she saw immediate changes. It made a huge difference “on attitude, on calmness, on collegiality,” she said.
Elizabeth Buckley, Pharm.D., CDE, Associate Professor of Pharmacy at Concordia University-Wisconsin School of Pharmacy
Dr. LaDisa began teaching an improvisational class to first-year students to help bolster communication and teamwork skills. Improv is a theatrical technique where the characters and dialog in scene or story are made up on the spot. Communication skills learned through improv can help a student become a good pharmacist, she noted.
Anne Graff LaDisa, Pharm.D., BCPS, Associate Professor of Pharmacy at Concordia University-Wisconsin School of Pharmacy.