Reflecting an industry-wide concern about burnout, session copresenter Nicole Clark, PharmD, MHA, BCPS, FMSHP, pharmacy clinical practice and education manager, MelroseWakefield Healthcare, Melrose, Massachusetts, reported the current controversy over whether burnout is an independent syndrome or a form of depression.

Pointing to overlap between burnout and depression at the etiology and symptom levels, she said that in a survey of 5,575 schoolteachers, 90% of subjects who identified as being burned out also met the diagnostic criteria for depression.  “Still, the view that burnout is a distinct condition,” Clark said, “can lead to the belief that it is less debilitating, and individuals may be less likely to seek treatment.”

Reporting on burnout prevalence in healthcare sector, Clark pointed to a nationwide study of clinical pharmacists. In the survey, 974 responded (11%), and the majority of respondents were female (69%) with a median age of 35 years, and they had practiced pharmacy for 8 years. Nearly three-quarters of respondents were board certified pharmacy specialists, and the vast majority (98%) were full time and worked 48 hours per week. While 84% of the survey respondents were satisfied with their careers, Clark said, 61% reported, “being burned out.”

Concerted efforts to combat burnout, session presenters said, are underway. The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, launched in 2017, is composed of a network of more than 60 organizations. ASHP, the inaugural sponsor, is the only participating pharmacy organization.

The NAM Collaborative, Clark said, has three goals: raise the visibility of clinician anxiety, burnout, depression, stress, and suicide; improve baseline understanding of challenges to clinician well-being; and advance evidence-based, multidisciplinary solutions to improve patient care by caring for the caregiver.

Session copresenter Rebecca Taylor, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, director of pharmacy, Cleveland Clinic Fairview and Lutheran Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio, summed up the takeaways: clinician well-being supports improved patient-clinician relationships, a high-functioning care team, and an engaged and effective workforce; organization burnout prevention strategies include improved communication, changes in workflow, and quality improvement projects; and individual strategies to prevent burnout include setting boundaries and commitments, finding activities that bring you joy, and cultivating relationships.

« Click here to return to Conference eDIRECT.