The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is playing a vital role in helping pharmacists who are dealing with stress at the workplace. It launched its new awareness factsheet ‘It’s Time to Address Stress’ last week.
The factsheet looks at the causes and symptoms of stress in the workplace and provides advice on ways pharmacists can access support and improve working conditions.
The association said that it recognizes the well-being services offered by employers and specialist charities such as the PDA’s charity partner Pharmacist Support play an important part in helping pharmacists who may be experiencing stress.
However, the PDA is also committed to working with members to challenge employers to provide well workplaces and to help them to make real impact changes. This can be done by addressing the causes of stress and fulfilling their responsibilities to their employees.
It added: “Under the management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are required by law to protect employees from harm. Their legal obligations include identifying hazards and risks and implementing ways to reduce or eliminate them. The PDA’s new factsheet highlights the importance of employers recognizing the hazards causing stress as the health and safety issues they are.”
During the PDA’s 75-minute event attendees discussed the realities of how stress impacts their working lives and reflected on how they can work with employers to improve this.
The event referenced the earlier Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress and Wellbeing surveys undertaken by the PDA within community and hospital settings. The PDA utilized the HSE Management Standards for context and members shared their daily experiences across community, hospital, and primary care settings including the demands placed on them through short staffing, additional workloads, and often unsupportive organizational structures.
One of the PDA members said: “The practice I work in has recently lost a valued team member through the stress she was under, and there is no-one to replace her for the next few months while they recruit. As no-one else is trained to do her role, her work coming to me and the other pharmacist – on top of our full-to-bursting clinics and admin responsibilities. Breaks are a thing of the past at the moment!
“I think there is a lack of recognition that regardless of how much work there is to be done, there is only so much that can physically be done. Being told that you’ll just have to ‘step up’ is not helpful or realistic.
“The challenge for pharmacists in community is that so much of the time you are the sole pharmacist in the building – no disrespect to the colleagues we work with, but when you are the only pharmacist, it is isolating.”