One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

5 Tips to Avoid Burnout as a Christian Pharmacist

5 Tips to Avoid Burnout as a Christian Pharmacist

By Jeff Bates, Pharm.D.

Dr. Jeff Bates

I’m a workaholic. I recently played golf, and it took me three holes to stop feeling guilty about being out on the golf course on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. But I need time away from work to avoid becoming burned out, just like you do. For me, though, the key to avoiding burn out is maintaining a healthy, godly perspective of my work.

Here are 5 tips that I use to help avoid burnout as a Christian pharmacist:

  1. Whatever It Takes
    What is your attitude when caring for patients? Do you say, “I can’t stay a minute after 8 o’clock because I have plans”? What if a patient comes in at 7:59? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to meet that patient’s needs? When we have a “whatever it takes” mentality when we’re working, we should also be able to give ourselves permission to have time away, without any hint of guilt.
  2. Eye on the Prize
    In Philippians 3, the Apostle Paul gives wise counsel for where our focus should be. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (vv. 13-14). One of my mentors from pharmacy school, Dr.  Jamison, used to say that anxiety is often caused by unmet expectations. What are your goals and expectations? When we focus only on our own desires and what the world points us to, we work very hard to achieve something unattainable and of little overall value, which leaves us burned out. When we focus on Christ and on making an eternal impact, there is much greater peace.
  3. Visualize Success Without Complaining
    Do you visualize what it will look like to reach your goal? When I was on rotation with Dr. Jamison, I had to go up the staff stairs every morning to go to a morning care clinic on the third floor. I knew exactly how many stairs I had to climb each week. Then I did the math and determined how many stairs I would have to climb through the end of that rotation. I didn’t complain about how many steps I had to climb, but rather, I visualized myself taking the very last step daily. I challenge  Pharm.D. students often to visualize what it's going to be like to walk across the stage at commencement when they become a pharmacist. Instead of complaining about the day-to-day drudgery of your job, remain faithful, trusting in God’s promise to bless you.
  4. Find a Barnabas
    In the book of Acts, we learn about Barnabas and how he encouraged and mentored the Apostle Paul. Do you have a Barnabas in your life? Someone who prays for you faithfully and encourages and challenges you to be the best you can be. Someone who lifts you up and points you to Scripture as the source of truth. Someone who will tell you honestly when you’re working too much and ignoring your priorities. If you don’t have a Barnabas in your life, I encourage you to find one. Start by joining a strong men’s or women’s group and then dig deep with one or two individuals.
  5. Discover God’s Perspective
    In Isaiah 40, we learn of how God “has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span.” It gives me a little bit of a bigger picture of how great this God is who loves me and sent His Son to die for me. Later in the same chapter, Isaiah reminds us that God gives power to the weary and increases the strength of the weak. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (v. 31). Remember that the God who created you is much, much bigger than your problems, and He longs to give you strength when you are weary and just plain burned out.

Jeff Bates, Pharm.D. is Dean of the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy. 

The Cedarville University School of Pharmacy is transforming students into excellent team-focused, practice-ready pharmacists so that they will go and serve patients wherever they are called. Students are challenged in the classroom, engaged in patient care through experiential education, and intentionally mentored and discipled professionally and spiritually. Cedarville’s Pharm.D. students are fully prepared to begin a rewarding career as a pharmacist and to use their calling to make a difference for Christ as they serve with excellence and compassion.

Posted in PharmD

Share This Post