Local pharmacies experiencing staff shortages due to worker burnout

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Some pharmacies across Iowa are shortening their hours because they are now short on staff.

There is a lack of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians all around the state right now, according to Renae Chesnut, the dean of Drake University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.

The Iowa Pharmacy Association pointed out the constant COVID-19 pandemic and the related work of administering vaccines and filling prescriptions has directly led to burnout in the industry. It’s believed the conditions also make it difficult to retain existing employees and recruit new ones.

“There is always a concern when there isn’t enough staffing that mistakes can be made,” Chesnut said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why pharmacists are deciding to cut hours and maybe not even be open if they don’t have the appropriate staffing.” 

Drake is training the next generation of pharmacists, with 81 set to graduate from the university this spring. Chesnut hopes people notice the struggles existing health professionals face in the meantime.

“Be patient, be kind, and be understanding,” Chesnut said, “Realize that pharmacists, through COVID especially and at this time of the year, it’s kind of a double whammy. There’s a lot that goes on in a pharmacy and we appreciate everyone’s support. I know my pharmacist colleagues have a great appreciation for that as well.”

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