A systematic review and pooled prevalence of burnout in pharmacists

Int J Clin Pharm. 2022 Nov 29;1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11096-022-01520-6. Online ahead of print.


Background: Burnout is an occupational phenomenon caused by ineffectively managed work-related stress. Burnout is common among healthcare professionals and has the capacity to compromise patient care, but is not well characterised in pharmacists.

Aim: This systematic review aimed to establish the prevalence of burnout among pharmacists, and its associated risk factors.

Method: A systematic search of Embase, PubMed, CINAHL and PsychInfo was carried out. Studies were included using the following eligibility criteria; original research investigating burnout prevalence in pharmacists in patient-facing roles in any jurisdiction, using any validated burnout measurement instrument. No language or date barriers were set. Data were extracted by the first author and accuracy checked by co-authors. A pooled prevalence was estimated, and narrative synthesis provided.

Results: Burnout prevalence data were extracted from 19 articles involving 11,306 pharmacist participants across eight countries. More than half (51%) of pharmacists were experiencing burnout. Associated risk factors included longer working hours, less professional experience, high patient and prescription volumes, excessive workload and poor work/life balance. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted pharmacist burnout and resilience. Involvement in education and training and access to burnout management resources were associated with lower rates of burnout, but burnout intervention effectiveness is unknown.

Conclusion: Burnout remains high among pharmacists and may negatively affect the quality of patient care. There is significant heterogeneity pertaining to the definition and assessment of burnout and there remains a need to identify and evaluate effective individual and organisational burnout interventions.

Keywords: Burnout; Pharmacists; Professional wellbeing; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review