Pharmacy career deciding: Making choice a "good fit"

Sarah Caroline Willis, Phillip Shann, Karen Hassell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose - The purpose of this article is to explore factors influencing career deciding amongst pharmacy students and graduates in the UK. Design/methodology/approach - Group interviews were used to devise a topic guide for five subsequent focus groups with pharmacy students and graduates. Focus groups were tape-recorded, recordings transcribed, and transcripts analysed. Key themes and interlinking factors relating to pharmacy career deciding were identified in the transcripts, following a constructivist approach. Findings - Participants' described making a "good fit" between themselves, their experiences, social networks etc. and pharmacy. Central to a coherent career deciding narrative were: having a job on graduation; and the instrumental advantage of studying a vocational course. Research limitations/implications - Focusing on career deciding of UK pharmacy students and graduates may limit the study's generalisability to other countries. However, our findings are relevant to those interested in understanding students' motivations for healthcare careers, since our results suggest that making a "good fit" describes a general process of matching between a healthcare career and personal experience. Practical implications - As we have found that pharmacy career deciding was not, usually, a planned activity, career advisors and those involved in higher education recruitment should take into account the roles played by personal preferences and values in choosing a degree course. Originality/value - A qualitative study like this can illustrate how career deciding occurs and provide insight into the process from a student's perspective. This can help inform guidance processes, selection to healthcare professions courses within the higher education sector, and stimulate debate amongst those involved with recruitment of healthcare workers about desirable motivators for healthcare careers. © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-102
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Careers
    • Decision making
    • Focus groups
    • Pharmacology
    • Students
    • United Kingdom


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