News Releases

Stressed, Overworked and Underappreciated : UWI study reveals the experiences of local pharmacists

For Release Upon Receipt - May 5, 2022

St. Augustine



Research team: Ms. Stephanie Mohammed (top left), Dr. Venkatesan Sundaram (bottom left), Professor Andanappa Gadad (bottom right) from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus and Mr. Ryan Mohammed (top right), a pharmacist from the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex,


ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. Thursday 5th May, 2022. With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, pharmacists remain the frontline professionals most accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. They work tirelessly alongside other healthcare professionals to ensure that the medication needs of all patients are met. A team of researchers comprising of Ms. Stephanie Mohammed, Professor Andanappa Gadad and Dr. Venkatesan Sundaram from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus together with Mr. Ryan Mohammed, a pharmacist from the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex, conducted an online survey to explore the role, awareness and experiences of pharmacists during the pandemic. Ethical approval for the study was waived and during August 2020 and March 2021, responses were received from pharmacists who had experience in the public (53.4%) and (27.4%) private sectors, most of whom were between the ages of 26 and 30 (see Figure 1 below). 

Results indicated that pharmacists were very knowledgeable about the virus, stating that they followed the news and followed the Center for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. It was reported that 7 out of 10 patients would request information about COVID-19 regarding mask wearing, disinfection, symptoms experienced, treatment options, and how to interact with their children. Patients also expressed concern about their pet contracting COVID (23.3%) and requested information to ensure their pet’s safety. 

Pharmacists reported that they suffered from anxiety (46.6%) and stress (65.8%) resulting from shortages in the supply of medications, increased demands from patients and physicians, having to wear a mask all the time, being overworked, and being mostly unappreciated for their work (see Figure 2 below and attached). The majority (86.3%) of pharmacists reported that they felt underappreciated for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic in the health community and suffered from depression, frustration, mental health disorders and lack of economic support. Reports from around the world have also indicated that pharmacists suffer from burnout due to overtime, increased workload, reduced staffing levels, and many changes in work schedules. 

“Overall, pharmacists are on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They play a vital role in disease prevention and infection control, adequate storage and supply of medications, patient care, and physician support,” explained Mr Ryan Mohammed. “Now that vaccines are being distributed, they are in the perfect position to update on vaccinations and reach out to those who are uninformed, helping to improve vaccination rates,” he added. 

Ms. Stephanie Mohammed further explained that pharmacists play a larger role than is well known because they are medical advisors, educators, and advocates. “These pharmacists need to be recognized for their contributions to raising awareness, dispensing medications, and adjusting workloads to ensure that all patients receive excellent care,” said Ms. Mohammed. 

The research team extended their sincere thanks to Dr. Andrew Rahaman for his assistance during the start of the project which has helped to provide a better understanding of challenges facing pharmacists. “The role of pharmacists during COVID-19 is stressful, but they adapt to help the public and other health care workers with disease prevention and infection control, patient care, medication dispensing, and generally educating and inspiring all. These pharmacists should be acknowledged for their contribution in fighting against the COVID-19,” said Ms. Mohammed. 


Figure 1.0 Pie chart showing the length of time pharmacists are registered with the Board of Pharmacy.



 Figure 2.0 Bar chart major concerns of pharmacists during COVID-19.


About The UWI


The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region. 

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world. 

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year. In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI stands among the top 1.5%. The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action. 

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)