ASHP Continues Prioritizing Solutions and Tools to Advance Pharmacy Workforce Well-Being and Mental Health

Dear Colleagues,

This week marks National Pharmacy Week, a time to recognize the exceptional care pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians provide to patients every day across all healthcare settings.

Amid challenging times for our profession, the pharmacy workforce continues to give so much to the patients and communities they serve. More than ever, we must ensure pharmacy professionals have the resources and support they need to thrive. This includes, first and foremost, addressing staffing levels and shortages to ensure patient needs are met in all settings of care.

To this end, ASHP and its national partner organizations recently released a report detailing actionable solutions for improving pharmacy workplace conditions that lead to high stress levels, occupational burnout, and attrition from the profession. The report, "Implementing Solutions Summit: Building a Sustainable, Healthy, Pharmacy Workforce and Workplace," shares important insights from members of the pharmacy workforce across all practice settings.  

The report lays out 35 actionable solutions for action by employers, associations, boards of pharmacy, and individuals, including:

  1. Addressing staffing levels and shortages
  2. Redefining roles and increasing pay for pharmacy technicians
  3. Expanding use of technology to improve work
  4. Eliminating burdensome regulations

ASHP will continue to collaborate with our members and organizational partners to advance these actions to create meaningful and sustainable change.

In addition to the above, ASHP continues its longstanding commitment to advance initiatives that mitigate occupational burnout and foster the well-being and resilience of the pharmacy workforce.

Creating Well-Being Ambassadors
To empower local action to reduce occupational burnout and create cultures of well-being in healthcare organizations, ASHP is also continuing its work to build a nationwide network of Well-Being Ambassadors (WBA). The program, supported through a grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration, has recruited 4,361 ambassadors, exceeding all goals.

These ambassadors are now working with their colleagues and others to pass along the skills they have gained to help advance well-being throughout the pharmacy workforce. The program is no longer recruiting; however, pharmacists, pharmacy students, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy residents who enrolled were given complimentary access to the program, regardless of membership status. The fourth and final WBA cohort is in progress now through April 2024. Learn more about WBA program participants and their experiences on ASHP's News Center.

Enabling Essential Tools and Needed Conversations
On Sept. 20, we partnered with other pharmacy organizations to establish the Pharmacy Workforce Suicide Awareness Day. This commitment seeks to raise awareness of, prevent, and respond to suicide in the pharmacy profession. It will be recognized annually as part of September's Suicide Prevention Month. For more resources, visit our webpage dedicated to this important issue.

ASHP also recently released several Well-Being Learning Bursts on the ASHP Well-Being & You Resource Center to provide additional resources to support mental health and well-being. This collection of video clips offers practical skills for individuals and organizations. Check back as we continue to expand these resources developed by our members.

We are making available the recording of a recent ASHP-hosted virtual forum, "Roadmap to Pharmacy Workforce Well-Being: A Virtual Dialogue with ASHP Members." More than 500 members of the pharmacy workforce participated in the event, which included remarks from Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Denise Hinton and Lieutenant Commander Shamika P. Brooks from the Office of the Surgeon General.  

Our work to help support the workforce is being recognized. We are pleased to announce that ASHP has been identified as a Change Maker Accelerator by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. As the only founding pharmacy organization in this prestigious group, ASHP will commit to the goals outlined in NAM's National Plan for Health Workforce Well-Being and measure progress accordingly.

As a Change Maker Accelerator, we began a new effort to harmonize accreditation standards for well-being in training and education across healthcare disciplines. We are working with organizations representing pharmacy, nursing, medicine, and physician assistants and associates, among others, in a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort to align well-being standards for all trainees in the clinical learning environment.

Finally, for those who attended this week's ASHP Conference for Pharmacy Leaders, we offered workshops dedicated to providing leaders with practical and applicable tools to support mental health and well-being in the pharmacy workforce. Further, the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim from Dec. 3-7 also provides a wide range of well-being educational sessions on topics including toxic positivity, occupational burnout, and moral injury. Register here for the Midyear meeting.

In closing, ASHP recognizes that occupational burnout and moral injury in the pharmacy workforce pose serious challenges to providing optimal care for patients. We are committed to advancing action through our advocacy for the profession and the daily work and initiatives we are driving to promote the well-being and resilience of the pharmacy workforce so that we are all #PharmacyStrong.

Thank you for all you do for your patients and our profession.



Posted on October 18, 2023