To be or not to be: The identity work of pharmacists as clinicians

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This study explores how pharmacists legitimise the expansion of their clinical work and considers its impact on pharmacists’ professional identity work. In the context of pharmacy in the English NHS, there has been an ongoing policy shift towards pharmacists moving away from ‘medicines supply’ to patient-facing, clinical work since the 1950s. Pharmacists are continuously engaging in ‘identity work’ and ‘boundary work’ to reflect the expansion of their work, which has led to the argument that pharmacists lack a clear professional identity. Drawing insights from linguistics and specifically Van Leeuwen's ‘grammar of legitimation’, this study explains how the Pharmacy Integration Fund, a nationally funded learning programme, provides the discursive strategies for pharmacists to legitimise their identity work as clinicians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-641
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2023


  • identity
  • pharmacy
  • primary care
  • professions
  • workforce


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