APhA, ASHP, NABP Publish Report Aimed at Improving Strategies for Pharmacy Workforce

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The new report includes actions to implement that could improve workplace conditions, which are the leading causes of high stress and occupational burnout across the pharmacy profession.

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) have released a new report that includes actions to implement that could improve workplace conditions, which are the leading causes of high stress and occupational burnout across the profession.1,2

Key Takeaways

  1. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) have collaboratively released a report outlining actionable solutions to address workplace conditions, including practice advancement, mental health, workforce, regulations, and technology.
  2. Pharmacy organizations and professionals should prioritize implementing these solutions to enhance the well-being of pharmacy personnel, ultimately leading to improved workplace experiences and a revitalized profession focused on delivering excellent patient care.
  3. The report, developed through a summit attended by various stakeholders, provides a comprehensive roadmap for short-, medium-, and long-term strategies that target the ongoing issue of occupational burnout in pharmacy.

"We cannot delay in enacting these solutions,” Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP, executive vice president and CEO of APhA, said in a statement. “It is imperative that we continue to prioritize the well-being of our pharmacy personnel now to usher in positive changes that not only elevate their workplace experiences but also reinvigorates the profession towards upward mobility so they can be able to continue to deliver outstanding patient care."1

The 3 organizations hosted a summit from June 20 to 21, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia to establish solutions for individuals, employers, and pharmacy associations in the short-, medium-, and long-term that address the ongoing occupational burnout. Participants in the summit included individuals from independent and community pharmacies, health-system pharmacies, boards of pharmacy, school and colleges of pharmacy, and professional pharmacy associations.2

Female pharmacist working in pharmacy. Pharmacist using the computer at the pharmacy. | Image Credit: Dragana Gordic - stock.adobe.com

Dragana Gordic - stock.adobe.com

The report focused on 5 workplace themes: practice advancement, mental health, workforce, regulations and requirements, and technology and workflow efficiencies. Before the summit, participants ranked each theme and various workplace strategies according to importance and/or which strategies existed or were implemented into their workplace. The organizations prioritized the high importance, but low implementation strategies for discussion at the summit.1

Within each theme, pharmacy professionals commented on what they would like to see from employers, associations, boards of pharmacy, and themselves. For practice advancement, those who participated in the summit emphasized uniform educational and standards of practice for pharmacy technicians. They said that giving more responsibilities of value to pharmacy technicians can make them feel more appreciated while freeing up time for pharmacists. The subject of pharmacy technicians came up again under technology and workflow efficiencies.1

The participants in the summit indicated that pharmacy associations should launch public awareness campaigns to promote pharmacist care services. Representatives from pharmacy organizations volunteered to collaborate on building a resource hub, housing tool kits, best practices, and recommendations to enhance workplace and personal well-being.1

In the mental health theme, “just culture” was discussed. Participants suggested that fixing systems rather than punishing an individual—making up “just culture”—when errors occur can help to reduce stress, increase trust, improve medication error reporting, create learning opportunities, and enhance processes for better patient safety. Further, they emphasized interpersonal communication, mental health resources, and monitoring of well-being in the workplace as some strategies to help burnout in pharmacy.1

For workforce, there was an emphasis on adequate staffing levels. Those in the summit suggested that improving the number of potential pharmacy professionals can start with partnering at local high schools to spread awareness of the practice. They also emphasized establishing relationships between practices and academia to help students better prepare for graduation. As for current practice settings, the participants in the study supported “just culture,” autonomy for pharmacy practice, and improved communication between pharmacy professionals and their management.1

In the regulations and requirements theme, individuals at the summit identified rules that they believe created unnecessary administrative burdens and did not benefit patient care or took time away from tasks considered higher priority. Furthermore, they said that regulatory resources should be more accessible so that pharmacy professionals can comply with regulations and requirements easier. In addition, for technology and workflow, pharmacy professionals said that incentives should be used to encourage innovative models that streamline administrative tasks and help to centralize common practices that improve time management.1

“Pharmacists and technicians are an essential part of the health care workforce in this country,” Lemrey Carter, PharmD, MS, RPh, executive director and secretary of NABP, said in the statement. “Pharmacies provide quality, accessible care to patients in a diverse range of communities...The outcomes of the summit are a roadmap to building a more sustainable, healthier pharmacy workforce and workplace.”2

The full report, along with actionable solutions in each theme and separated by who can perform each action (ex. pharmacists, employers, pharmacy associations, etc.) can be accessed here.1

References

  1. American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Building a sustainable, healthy pharmacy workforce and workplace. Arlington, Virginia. Presented: June 20, 2023, June 21, 2024. Accessed October 2, 2023. https://wellbeing.ashp.org/-/media/wellbeing/docs/Implementing-Solutions-Report-2023.pdf
  2. APhA, ASHP, and NABP unveil strategies to bolster pharmacy workforce. News release. ASHP. September 27, 2023. Accessed October 2, 2023. Email.
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