Burnout Prevention Among Healthcare Professionals

physician standing in front of a window looking stressed

Welcome back to our Mental Health Awareness blog series as we cover top mental health myths among healthcare professionals. In the last post, we debunked stress as something to always be avoided. Now, we will take a dive into burnout across the care continuum.  

Myth: Healthcare professionals should tough it out when facing burnout. 

Fact: Burnout among healthcare professionals stems from a blend of personal and organizational factors. 

In the demanding landscape of healthcare, burnout has become an all-too-common challenge. To tackle this issue head-on, it’s vital for healthcare professionals to adopt proactive strategies aimed at reducing and managing burnout. Below you can find our top recommendations, some general while others specific to your practice, as well as strategies to effectively reduce and manage burnout in the workplace. 

General Recommendations: 

  • Make self-care a priority by focusing on healthy habits like eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. 
  • Set aside time to engage in enjoyable activities that bring you happiness and relaxation. 
  • Stay connected with your support system by regularly interacting with family, friends, mentors, and preceptors, whether it’s through phone calls, video chats, or in-person gatherings. 
  • Work on developing self-awareness to recognize potential triggers of burnout, and take proactive steps to address them before they become overwhelming. 
  • Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s essential to learn from them rather than dwelling on perfection. Reflect on past errors to minimize the chances of repeating them in the future. 
  • Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your routine. 

Recommendations for Prescribers and Pharmacists: 

  • Limit the number of extra work hours. Examples include, not checking email during non-work hours or scheduling one day per week that is completely work-free.  
  • Work smarter, not harder. You don’t have to do everything yourself — ask for help when you need it, delegate appropriately, and involve others to help with some duties (e.g., office staff, nurses, pharmacy technicians, students). 
  • Be proactive to prevent unnecessary work. For example, when writing or filling prescriptions, make sure to authorize an appropriate number of refills to last until a patient’s next appointment (or other appropriate time frame) in order to prevent an unnecessary request. When possible, put the indication in the directions of each Rx, so patients know what each medication is for without having to make a phone call. 

Recommendations for Pharmacy Technicians or Trainees (e.g., residents, students, etc.):  

  • Limit the number of extra work hours. Examples include: not checking email during nonwork hours or scheduling one day per week that is completely work-free.  
  •  Leverage available resources and technology. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed. Utilize tools like Pharmacist’s Letter or Pharmacy Technician’s Letter and electronic databases to streamline your work processes and explore ways to automate routine tasks, such as generating lab reports or pick lists, to save time and effort.

Recommendations for Leadership (managers, supervisors, or preceptors): 

  • Evaluate your leadership style to foster a supportive work environment. 
  • Create scheduling flexibility and offer protected time for projects to accommodate team needs. 
  • Ensure work assignments are realistic and understand pharmacy technician workload perceptions. 
  • Utilize employee satisfaction surveys and implement quality improvement projects. 
  • Foster two-way communication and encourage taking earned time off to maintain well-being. 
  • Incorporate mentor/mentee opportunities to identify burnout and provide support. 
  • Teach subordinates project management techniques, such as breaking tasks into smaller chunks or setting intermediate deadlines. 
  • When you suspect someone is experiencing burnout, address it with empathy, ask about support systems and work with them on finding a solution.

For more in depth information, check out our resource, Prevention and Management of Burnout for Healthcare Professionals. 

It’s important to challenge common misconceptions about stress and burnout, particularly in the healthcare field. By understanding that stress can have positive aspects when managed appropriately and recognizing the importance of addressing burnout among healthcare professionals, we can all take steps toward a healthier, more balanced life.  

For more information, be sure to check out our recommended resources on stress management and burnout prevention. Beyond Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s continue this journey toward better mental health, both for ourselves and our patients. 


Mental Health Resources for Pharmacists

Mental Health Resources for Prescribers

Mental Health Resources for Pharmacy Technicians