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    The Drug Topics 2017 Pharmacist Salary Survey

    As pharmacist salaries rise, so do demands.

     

    More Stress

    The sources of job stress haven’t changed over the years. Back in 2008, 60% of respondents said their job-related stress level was up, almost identical to the 60.3% who reported increased job stress in 2017.

    Figure 5: StressWhat’s pushing blood pressure higher? Figure 5 shows the most commonly cited reasons.

    Increased technology support was a stressor for a third of pharmacists in 2008, but didn’t even make the list this year. Stressors four, five, and six for 2017 were negative workplace environment, lack of training and continuing education, and the catch-all category, “other.”

    In “other,” respondents cited many problem areas, including poor management, company red tape, insurers and PBMs, new software, age discrimination, staffing cuts, DEA regulations, enforcing narcotic use restrictions, electronic medical records and electronic medication administration records, pressure to sell more immunizations, reductions in work hours, increases in work hours, and more.

    Dealing with the Challenges

    “Stress is a matter of how you deal with the challenges that are presented to you,” said Phil Burgess, RPh, DPh, principal of Phil Burgess Consulting, former Operations Director for Walgreens, and member of the Illinois State Board of Pharmacy.

    “Challenges and pressures are part of the job. They always have been. How you deal with those challenges and pressures that come at you is what produces stress or not.”

    Creating a good support staff is key to reducing stress. Training technicians and letting them do their job can go a long way to easing pressures on the pharmacist, Burgess added. Some pharmacy schools do a good job of training pharmacists to train and guide their support staff, but some pharmacists have to learn it on the job.

    Read more: Balancing Act: Dealing with Stress in the Pharmacy

    “If the pharmacist is hanging on the phone trying to find out why a copay didn’t go through, the pharmacist has a problem,” he said. “One of the techs should be doing that, not the pharmacist. The pharmacist can be the one who has to explain the problem to the patient, but calling to get the information is a technician function. It’s all about training your support personnel and letting them work to the top of their function so you can be a better pharmacist.” 

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