Pharmacists are like camels but they can't 'hold it' forever

Yes, without genuine washroom breaks it’s true that pharmacists can hold water like camels, but there is a more important similarity: they can both carry significant loads on their backs. 

I’d like you to met Cam. He’s a camel and can carry up to 900 lbs. for 25 miles per day. Let me tell you a story about a young pharmacist who carried a load until a straw broke his back. 

Almost a decade ago, this young pharmacist managed a very busy pharmacy that served over one thousand nursing home residents. The job brought a consistent 60-hour work week and significant projects like implementing robotics, new policies and managing a plethora of complex human dynamics that come with a large workforce.

After returning from his first vacation in years, where he and his wife welcomed their second baby, he received a phone call. That call would prove to be the last dreadful straw. You may have already guessed it, but that pharmacist was me. 

A sketch of my path could look like this:

The good news is that I am a better pharmacist and leader today than I was at baseline, having gone through the burnout cycle and having been forced to take charge of my own burnout prevention tactics, at work and at home. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll feature five tactics to level up your game at work with these key concepts:

In December and January, I’ll feature four tactics to taking charge at home so pharmacists can report to work rested, fuelled and ready. 

The segments were pieced together in a presentation at PharmacyU Vancouver 2022, an in-person conference bringing together pharmacy leaders like pharmacists, technicians, students, managers and owners in a one-day inspirational learning event. The conference is held in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal each year. 

Click here for a recordingof a 50-minute summary sponsored by BioSyentin an effort to give back to a profession they believe in!

The next nine weeks represent what I have learned to be big takeaways for me in the journey from stress to burnout to leading. I call it No Longer Invisible because pharmacy burnout is real, recognizable and certainly not a fad. Along the way, I encourage you to share your burnout stories or hang-ups as answers are out there and anything is possible. 

For free, professional & discreet resources on pharmacy burnout, visit the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

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