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HOPA 2018 | Mid-career burnout and how to overcome it

Amy Pick • 21 Mar 2018

Speaking from the 2018 Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) Annual Conference held in Denver, CO, Amy Pick, PharmD, BCOP, of Creighton University, Omaha, NE, speaks about mid-career challenges that healthcare professionals face. She particularly focuses on career burnout, why it is important and methods that can be used to overcome it.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

I’m going to be speaking with three colleagues, and they’re going to be discussing mid-career challenges. All of our colleagues have transitioned into different careers, and my part is going to just discuss challenges that we all face probably in the mid-career: looking at stress in the workplace, the difference between stress and what is career burnout. There’re three factors to burnout: we think about emotional exhaustion, we have cognitive fatigue and physical fatigue...

I’m going to be speaking with three colleagues, and they’re going to be discussing mid-career challenges. All of our colleagues have transitioned into different careers, and my part is going to just discuss challenges that we all face probably in the mid-career: looking at stress in the workplace, the difference between stress and what is career burnout. There’re three factors to burnout: we think about emotional exhaustion, we have cognitive fatigue and physical fatigue. Then we think about depersonalization where we become very cynical with our job, and then over time then we see decreased efficacy in our ability and to perform. I’m going to talk a little bit about burnout and then give some strategies on how people can become maybe a little bit more resilient in the workplace, and provide some suggestions if, you know, you are really burnout, maybe you need to consider a different career.

I think burnout is becoming very popular and we hear this a lot probably within the last couple of years. The National Academy of Medicine is addressing clinician burnout in our health care providers. When we look at pharmacists very specifically, we see an increased incidence of suicide in pharmacists, as well as increased use of substance abuse, and it is thought that probably burnout is a contributing factor to both the substance abuse as well as the suicide rate. So, it’s very important that we address burnout and maybe some early warning signs so that we can rectify and maybe stop the burnout. You know, if we do not treat burnout appropriately then we think about severe depression we think about anxiety as well.

Well, the American Pharmacist Association actually has a website or webpage that discusses pharmacist’s burnout and gives some recommendations: obviously speaking with the provider and discussing what is going on. They recommend discussing burnout with your supervisor and maybe the supervisor is unaware of the increased demands and the increased workload. I think when you look at resiliency, we talked about gratitude. Has a lot of literature that suggests that if you express gratitude to one another, that you become very happy. That positive gratitude can overcome some burnout.

I think mindfulness in the workplace— meditation can be very helpful such as journaling. For me personally, I think it’s important to have a personal mission statement. Knowing “this is my goal” or “this is my purpose here in life”, and then knowing what values are really important, so your personal creed, Then, if you look at those and you live by those, I think it’s easy to see “am I in the right job or do I need to consider a change or do I need to consider maybe a change in career”.

I think the key takeaway is live your life with intention: figure out what your purpose here is in this world and find a job that fits that purpose. Maybe you’re in the right career right now or maybe you might need a career transition, but if you live your life with intention you’re going to be very happy in life.

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