Peer support as a potential tool to promote pharmacists’ wellbeing

Maria B. Cooper, Sara McMillan, Kay Dunkley, Fiona Kelly, Brett McDermott, Elizabeth Hotham, Vijayaprakash Suppiah

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Discussion regarding burnout in health professionals, including community pharmacists, has grown substantially since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rapid legislative and societal behavioural changes led to significant global disruption of physical and emotional wellbeing during the pandemic as pharmacists continued to provide care while under unprecedented levels of stress. Community pharmacists have had an essential role in maintaining face-to-face care as the number of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths rose. Communications emerged from the World Health Organization which implored long-term changes to healthcare workplaces, including increased access to psychosocial support for employees. Peer support is a unique initiative, and it is low-cost and accessible across many platforms. Its main purpose is to bring people together with shared experiences and can often include people in the same career field or workplace. The feasibility and efficacy of peer support programs have been studied in other professional groups such as nurses and physicians, and also in undergraduate medical students. The conclusions drawn from these studies suggest that involvement in peer support reduced the risk of burnout and increased workplace engagement. In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, community pharmacists often work in relative isolation. Research has shown that younger pharmacists, and those in the earlier stages of their careers, reported feeling stressed, undervalued, and supported. They also mentioned a desire for access to a mentoring or coaching program. Following the success of peer support in other cohorts, research is needed to verify if this intervention will similarly benefit early career community pharmacists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102122
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jul 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology

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