Recognising and Responding to Job Burnout: Strategies for Action

how to deal with burnout

We at LocumCo understand that recognising and addressing job burnout is crucial, particularly in the pharmacy sector. Understanding how to deal with burnout is essential for both employees and employers to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Understanding Job Burnout

Job burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and overwork. Symptoms of burnout include chronic fatigue, cynicism towards work, reduced professional efficacy, and physical issues such as headaches or insomnia. Burnout can significantly impact not only the affected individual but also the overall performance and morale of a workplace.

Causes of Burnout in the Pharmacy Sector

Pharmacists and pharmacy assistants face unique challenges that contribute to burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, leading to increased workloads and stressful working conditions. Healthcare workers, including pharmacists, have dealt with an unprecedented public health crisis, adding to their emotional and physical strain. Staff shortages further compound these issues, leading to a cycle of overwork and burnout.

The Great Resignation and Its Impact

The ‘Great Resignation,’ also known as ‘The Great Exhaustion,’ has seen a significant shift in the workforce, with many employees leaving their jobs or changing careers. In the healthcare sector, this phenomenon has led to widespread staff shortages. Surveys, such as those conducted by Deloitte and Swinburne University, have highlighted that many workers now prioritise work-life balance and well-being over higher pay. This shift in employee values poses a challenge for employers looking to retain and attract talent.

Recognising Burnout

It is essential to recognise the signs of burnout early and know how to deal with burnout. Symptoms include persistent fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and a sense of detachment from work. Differentiating between normal work-related stress and burnout is crucial. While stress is a temporary condition that can often be managed, burnout is a chronic state that requires immediate intervention.

Strategies for Dealing with Burnout

  • Promoting Work-Life Balance

Fostering a healthy work-life balance is a crucial strategy for dealing with burnout. Employers should actively encourage flexible work schedules, allowing pharmacists to balance their professional and personal lives more effectively. Implementing policies that support time off, such as mental health days or extended leave, can significantly reduce stress levels.

  • Mental Health Support

Providing resources for mental health support is essential in knowing how to deal with burnout. Employers can offer access to counselling services, stress management workshops, and mindfulness programs. Encouraging open discussions about mental health can help de-stigmatise seeking help, creating a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable addressing their concerns.

  • Professional Development Opportunities

Offering professional development opportunities is another effective strategy for dealing with burnout. Employers can help pharmacists stay engaged and motivated by providing training and career advancement options. These opportunities enhance skills and give a sense of purpose and progression in their careers.

  • Managing Physical Health

Physical health plays a significant role in preventing burnout. Employers should ensure that workloads are manageable and that pharmacists are not overburdened. Regular breaks during shifts are vital to prevent physical exhaustion. Encouraging activities such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep can also help maintain overall well-being.

  • Creating a Supportive Work Environment

A supportive work environment is critical in learning how to deal with burnout. Employers should foster a culture of collaboration and open communication. Regular team meetings and feedback sessions can help identify stressors and address them promptly. Building a strong sense of community within the workplace can also provide emotional support to employees.

  • Recognising and Rewarding Efforts

Recognising and rewarding the efforts of pharmacists can go a long way in preventing burnout. Acknowledgement of hard work through awards, bonuses, or simple verbal recognition can boost morale and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to remain motivated and committed to their roles.

  • Implementing Stress-Reduction Techniques

Incorporating stress-reduction techniques into the workplace can be highly beneficial. Practices such as meditation, yoga sessions, or relaxation breaks can help pharmacists manage stress more effectively. Employers can organise workshops or provide resources to teach these techniques, promoting a calmer and more focused work environment.

  • Encouraging Time Management Skills

Encouraging pharmacists to develop strong time management skills can help in understanding how to deal with burnout. Providing training on prioritising tasks, delegating responsibilities, and setting realistic goals can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. Effective time management can lead to a more organised and less stressful workday.

  • Addressing Workload Issues

Addressing workload issues is fundamental in preventing burnout. Employers should regularly review the distribution of tasks and ensure that no single employee is overloaded. Hiring additional staff or temporary locums during peak times can alleviate pressure and help maintain a balanced workload.

  • Providing Clear Expectations

Providing clear expectations and job descriptions can help pharmacists understand their roles better and reduce uncertainty and stress. Clear communication about responsibilities, performance metrics, and feedback processes can create a more predictable and less stressful work environment.

Role of Employers in Preventing Burnout

Employers play a crucial role in preventing burnout. Engaging with employees to understand their needs and concerns is the first step. Regular assessments of workplace culture and implementing changes based on feedback can foster a supportive environment. Employers should focus on creating a culture that values employee well-being as much as performance. This can include flexible work arrangements, mental health resources, and opportunities for professional growth.

Government and Industry Support

The Australian government has recognised the importance of supporting the pharmacy workforce. Initiatives such as creating additional university places for pharmacy students and including pharmacists on the priority migration skilled occupation list are steps in the right direction. Industry bodies also play a vital role in addressing workforce challenges by advocating for better working conditions and providing support resources for pharmacists.


Knowing how to deal with burnout is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive workforce in the pharmacy sector. At LocumCo, we understand the challenges faced by both employees and employers and are committed to connecting pharmacies with the best talent across Australia. By recognising the signs of burnout and implementing strategies to support employee well-being, we can create a more sustainable and fulfilling work environment for everyone involved. Get in touch with us today to get all the help and support you need to deal with possible burnout at your pharmacy job!

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the early signs of job burnout in pharmacists?

Early signs of job burnout in pharmacists include chronic fatigue, irritability, decreased job satisfaction, difficulty concentrating, and a sense of detachment from work. It’s crucial to recognise these signs early to take appropriate measures to address and mitigate burnout.

How can employers support their pharmacists to prevent burnout?

Employers can support their pharmacists by fostering a healthy work-life balance, providing mental health resources, offering flexible work schedules, and ensuring manageable workloads. Engaging with employees to understand their needs and implementing changes based on feedback can also significantly help prevent burnout.

What role does professional development play in preventing burnout?

Professional development plays a critical role in preventing burnout by keeping pharmacists engaged and motivated. Offering opportunities for growth and learning can help employees feel valued and invested in their roles, reducing the likelihood of burnout and increasing job satisfaction.

How can pharmacists manage their workload to avoid burnout?

Pharmacists can manage their workload by prioritising tasks, taking regular breaks, and communicating with their employers about workload concerns. Practising self-care, including adequate rest, exercise, and healthy eating, is also important to maintain overall well-being.

What resources are available for pharmacists experiencing burnout?

Pharmacists experiencing burnout can access various resources, such as mental health counselling, employee assistance programs, and professional support networks. Many industry organisations also offer workshops and seminars on stress management and burnout prevention, providing valuable tools and support.