Tennessee Pharmacists Association

Nashville, Tenn. — October 13, 2023 — Throughout the United States, overwhelmed pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are voicing serious concerns regarding unsafe workplace conditions, which could jeopardize patient and employee safety. These concerns have led to a series of nationwide walkouts affecting employers of community pharmacy practice settings, including Walgreens and CVS.

The Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA) firmly stands by its members who choose to make the difficult, yet sometimes necessary, decision to call for action to rectify these unsound workplace conditions.

The current workplace conditions have been a significant concern for TPA in recent years, especially for TPA’s new executive leadership. In meetings with TPA’s Board of Directors, corporate pharmacy leadership, and the Tennessee legislature, TPA leaders echo pharmacists and pharmacy technicians’ determination in advocating for adequate staffing, compensation, and, above all, patient safety.

Patient care and safety are at the core of the pharmacy profession. In the Oath of a Pharmacist, our members vow to consider the welfare of humanity and the relief of suffering as our primary concerns. Simultaneously, our members embrace and advocate for changes that enhance patient care.

Workplace conditions have unfairly caused many pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other pharmacy team members to experience severe frustration and burnout. These conditions inevitably lead to delayed prescription fulfillment, unacceptable waits for vaccines and testing, and potential errors due to high volume, long hours, and pressure to meet performance metrics.

It is imperative for the public to understand the urgency of addressing these conditions and the necessity for additional resources and realistic expectations to ensure safe patient care. Pharmacy employers across the healthcare system must have meaningful dialogue with their teams, supported by realistic expectations, appropriate staffing levels, and effective procedures.

To assist the profession, TPA, in collaboration with APhA and other state pharmacy associations, developed the Pharmacy Workplace and Well-being Reporting (PWWR) tool, a safe, confidential, and anonymous space for pharmacy personnel to report positive and negative workplace experiences. PWWR reports create a pool of aggregated data that will be used to influence and educate our pharmacy community and leaders—including those who can do something about it—on meaningful and actionable changes. The experiences and situations submitted via PWWR help tell a collective, powerful story that can spark change and improvement in well-being, delivery of care, and patient safety in pharmacies.

TPA will also continue to share resources available to support our members through these challenging circumstances. Tennessee pharmacy professionals facing potentially unsafe working conditions in their practice settings are encouraged to file formal complaints to the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy. The Tennessee Pharmacy Recovery Network (TPRN) is also available to pharmacy professionals at risk for chemical dependency or other impairments. Please call 1-615-256-3023 to be connected with someone who can help.

While the state of Tennessee has made good progress toward the consensus recommendations provided by APhA, ASHP, and NABP, TPA will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to advocate for changes that improve patient safety across the state.

TPA strongly urges employers, the Board of Pharmacy, and third-party payers to collaborate and address the safety of pharmacy workplace conditions and the delivery of patient care. As an association dedicated to advancing, protecting, and promoting high-quality pharmacist-provided patient care in Tennessee, TPA is committed to supporting this cause and advocating for improved workplace conditions essential to the well-being of pharmacy professionals and the patients they serve.

About The Tennessee Pharmacists Association

The Tennessee Pharmacists Association represents the profession of pharmacy across the state, united for the purpose of promoting safe and effective medication use to improve the health of patients. Since 1884, the Tennessee Pharmacists Association has preserved and advanced the interests of the profession and has served the professional needs of all pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For more information, please visit tnpharm.org.