Find your anchor
Doing wellness activities together has been beneficial for Alyssa Rinaldi (left) and her co-residents.
The topic of burnout and its prevention has become a hot topic within the pharmacy community. “Heather,” you ask how I prevent burnout—whether I stay active, connected, and centered. Well, I will admit I am not always the best at getting to the gym, but I always stay connected with my support system. Also, I agree that these are times filled with constructive feedback. I have learned that it is crucial to quickly bounce back from feedback. I find that taking time to understand the reasoning behind the feedback (it usually is coming from a good place!) and finding ways to apply it to your practice can help to make all the difference.
I am happy to share some of the ways I have worked to prevent burnout.
Take time for yourself
As a member of a profession who is always taking care of others, sometimes it can be difficult to remember to take care of you. However, if you don’t, how can you give your best to your patients? That is why I am a huge advocate of taking time for yourself.
Free time can oftentimes be a luxury for a resident, so my residency class has prioritized setting aside time to decompress together outside of work. We do this by putting appointments on our co-residents’ calendars for social events so we leave time available. For example, this has manifested as weekly dates to watch “The Bachelor” together. Additionally, my residency program director started a new initiative where we do a different “wellness” activity as a class. So far, we have created customized candles, indulged in ice cream, and got manicures together. This activity helps us celebrate our accomplishments and progress toward completing residency.
Acknowledge your limits
You become more susceptible to burnout when you spread yourself too thin. One of the most difficult, but important skills we can learn is how to say “no.” Here’s a few tips on how I have learned to do this.
1. Show your appreciation to your colleague for thinking of you for the task.
2. Tell them the reason why you are saying no.
3. Offer an alternative way to support the initiative or point them toward someone else who may be able to. More often than not, they will appreciate your honesty.
Discover your passion project
Make sure you are able to find a project you are passionate about—whether that may be through completing a research project, starting a new initiative, or volunteering at your local free clinic. Having a passion project will help keep you “anchored” and prevent you from drifting away toward burnout. Additionally, it can help remind you why you chose to become a pharmacist and help keep you motivated. For me, this has been working with medication safety and seeing the impact we can have.
I am so happy to hear you have already found ways to fight burnout. I wish you the best in continuing to stay passionate about pharmacy!
Alyssa Rinaldi, PharmD, is a PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Resident at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, OH.