Workload pressure among recently qualified pharmacists: An exploratory study of intentions to leave the profession

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    Objectives: To explore the reasons why recently qualified pharmacists had chosen to follow non-standard career paths, or were thinking of doing so. Methods: Participants in a nationwide longitudinal cohort study examining pharmacy careers who were either working in non-standard roles (i.e. not primarily employed in community, primary care or hospital pharmacy), or who had expressed a likelihood of leaving the profession in the near future, were invited to participate in a follow-up qualitative study. After pilot work to inform the design of a semi-structured interview schedule 12 telephone interviews were conducted with pharmacists who had qualified within the last 5 years. Key findings: Regardless of the sector in which these early career pharmacists had gained work experience, there was a common occurrence of workload pressures influencing career decisions. Pressures in community pharmacy were often related to the need to meet certain targets in a business environment. Community pharmacists also bemoaned a lack of resources, such as support staff, which often meant that their day-to-day routines became monotonous and unfulfilling. A feeling of being undervalued and underutilised was the main concern voiced by all pharmacists and represented the views of those with experience of working in both the community and hospital sectors. This situation arose because participants felt that they had been highly trained to deliver new pharmaceutical services yet the opportunities to use their skills did not materialise, partly due to the nature of their workloads. Conclusions: Early career pharmacists can-become disillusioned because the pressure to perform routine tasks often results in a lack of time to provide new pharmaceutical services. Increased job satisfaction levels are seen when more opportunities for clinical input are afforded to pharmacists. This could be achieved through the use of clear guidelines on staffing levels and, more importantly, the provision of adequate support staff.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-187
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


    • Job satisfaction
    • Pharmacy career choices
    • Pharmacy workforce
    • Qualitative interviews
    • Workload


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