Like other healthcare professionals, pharmacists and their staff are on the front lines in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. While they are taking significant risks in caring for the public, they say that they are not getting the support they need for their health and well being.
Problems with Chain Pharmacies
Many working in chain pharmacies report that they simply do not feel safe because of the working conditions, which in turn increase their anxiety and stress levels. Their employers are not providing the protection that pharmacy staff need. They are reporting more cases of depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Those who worked at independent and hospital-based pharmacies, however, said their employers were taking active measures to protect pharmacy workers.
But three-fourths of pharmacists responding to a recent survey said chain pharmacies were not giving face masks to employees, and virtually none of the chain pharmacies were restricting interactions between employees and customers. In fact, the chain pharmacies were making the situation even worse by prohibiting employees from using their own masks, arguing that it did not give a professional appearance and alarmed customers. Most pharmacies, however, have installed plexiglass barriers at pharmacy counters.
Advocates for the workers also say that pharmacies with drive-through facilities should close walk-in pharmacy business.
In addition, retail pharmacies are not giving their staff the time or resources to clean areas where they interact with patients. Healthcare agencies recommend cleaning and disinfecting these workspaces after meeting with each customer. These pharmacies are not even cleaning these spaces once a day.
Healthcare agencies recommend pharmacy workers wash their hands frequently and thoroughly wipe down surfaces to prevent spread of the virus, disinfecting counters, waiting areas, and other patient meeting places. They should also have alcohol-based hand sanitizer readily available for staff and customers. Pharmacists also need to keep an eye on their staff for signs of illness. Everyone should have their temperature taken each shift and sent home if they are showing any signs of infection. If workers have symptoms, they need to self-quarantine at home until any fever or other symptoms go away.
If you are a pharmacist looking for employment, Cameron and Company can help you. We will work with you every step of the way to find an assignment that is challenging and fulfilling. Give Cameron and Company a call today.