Since NABP President Lenora S. Newsome, PD, assumed office, we have been hard at work assisting her with her presidential initiative to support mental health and well-being for pharmacy staff. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacy staff has been under immense stress that has reached a critical point, leading to rampant burnout and resignation. NABP staff has been in conversation with other organizations and state pharmacy boards to work towards solutions for pharmacy staff, and we have created resources to help as well as bring awareness to this issue. 

Task Force on Pharmacists and Pharmacy Personnel Mental Health and Well-Being 

In August, the Task Force on Pharmacists and Pharmacy Personnel Mental Health and Well-Being convened. The task force has added to the conversations of the Work Group on Workplace Safety, Well-Being, and Working Conditions. This task force includes board of pharmacy members from 9 states, aiming to achieve the following:

  1. Review the differences between work-induced stress that may affect mental health versus mental health conditions that are pre-existing, and how they both can create unsafe working conditions for pharmacy staff.  
  1. Provide resources to support mental health and well-being for pharmacists and pharmacy staff.  
  1. Amend, if necessary, the Model State Pharmacy Act and Model Rules of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (Model Act).

The task force recommended 7 practical solutions to assist pharmacists and pharmacy staff, some of which include: 

  1. Supporting state pharmacy boards in reviewing their rules and reducing those that are unnecessary and burdensome.  
  1. Developing a survey for pharmacy personnel to determine their knowledge of available mental health resources.  
  1. Developing continuing pharmacy education which includes emotional intelligence training. 

Read the full report of the task force to find all of the topics and recommendations discussed at the meeting.  

Presidential Initiative Video 

NABP staff produced a video detailing President Newsome’s initiative, bringing awareness to the issues facing pharmacy personnel today. In the video, Newsome discusses the current pharmacy landscape and working conditions, what is currently being done to address the issues, practicing self-care, and more. 

Mental Health and Well-Being Resources Webpage for Pharmacy Staff 

Another objective of Newsome’s presidential initiative that is now complete is the NABP webpage providing mental health and well-being resources for pharmacy staff. This webpage includes mental health self-evaluation tools like the Well-being Index for Pharmacy Personnel (WBI), courses to identify mental health crises, resources to find mental health support, and information to better understand burnout and mental health concerns. 

The NABP team will continue to update the webpage with the latest information, resources, and recommendations as we receive them. 

Continuing Support for Pharmacy Staff 

According to data from the WBI, 31% of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who used the self-assessment tool are at risk of experiencing high distress. Those who risk experiencing high distress also have double the risk of making a medication error, making mental health, well-being, and burnout  problematic for pharmacist personnel and the public health.  

Newsome’s presidential initiative objective includes incorporating mental health and well-being considerations in NABP accreditation programs, which would hold NABP accredited pharmacies accountable to create solutions for their staff. The work towards this objective, and towards finding solutions for pharmacist staff will continue, and we will continue to update on the progress of this project.