Workshops offering pharmacists coping strategies for stress improve their wellbeing, an academic evaluation has found.
An assessment by Manchester University had found that the pilot three-hour sessions, organised by Pharmacist Support, had a "measurable impact" on pharmacists' anxiety and depression, the charity said.
The 15 free events, held across the country between November 2013 and April 2014, were attended by 66 pharmacists, 47 pharmacy students and 57 pre-registration trainees. Attendees were taught techniques to improve their time management, discuss their problems with others and restrict worrying to a designated "worry period" each day.
Manchester University had evaluated questionnaires completed by attendees before and after the workshops, and concluded that the events had a "statistically significant" effect on pharmacists' "wellbeing and general functioning", Pharmacist Support told C+D last week (October 31).
"Several [attendees] commented that the most valuable part of the workshop was sharing experiences and realising that many others have personal experience of stress. The result [was that] they felt less isolated and better able to contextualise their reaction to working in a pressurised profession," the charity said.
As well as the workshops, attendees were offered an online therapy package to provide more in-depth support. Manchester University found that the impact of the workshops on pharmacists and students decreased over time, although this effect was not noted among pre-registration trainees, Pharmacist Support said.
The charity said it was unable to share Manchester University's full evaluation with C+D due to contractual reasons.
The success of the pilot workshops, which were funded from a £1.3 million donation to the charity in 2012, prompted it to offer further events as part of its package of free and confidential services to pharmacy professionals. The charity said it would continue to "work its way around Great Britain" and would announce further dates in the new year.
The next set of wellbeing workshops are:
Preliminary results from the C+D Salary Survey 2015 last week revealed that nearly three quarters of pharmacists and pharmacy staff have suffered from work-related stress in the past 12 months. C+D readers can compete the survey here.