Mandatory Pharmacist Meal Breaks in Mississippi

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Imagine working a 12 hour shift on a job with no lunch break, with one or two 15 minute breaks if time allots, and barely time to use the restroom. Would you be able to function or think properly? Now imagine working under the same conditions as a healthcare professional who is responsible for making life or death decisions. Would you feel comfortable doing so or having someone do so at the expense of your health or your family’s health?

These working conditions are what most pharmacists in the retail setting face each and every day. Personally, while working at a well-known chain pharmacy, I was responsible for working independently, without the help of support personnel such as a cashier or pharmacy technician, for 12 hours. I was faced with having to make sure that medications were filled accurately and efficiently, monitor for drug-drug interactions, contact doctors for drug clarifications, all while working the cash register, making recommendations for over the counter products, and handling the drive-through window without a break.

How can such a problem and potential risk to the community be solved? The solution is easy, a mandatory 30 minute lunch break for all pharmacists. This will allow time for both a mental and physical break from the demanding requirements of our job.