Internationally trained pharmacists: their contribution to, and experiences of, working in the Great Britain labour market

  • Zainab Ziaei

Student thesis: Phd


Background - In Great Britain (GB), international recruitment has been one of the methods used to tackle the shortage of healthcare professionals. Although research has been conducted on internationally trained nurses and doctors, studies on internationally trained pharmacists (ITPs) is limited. In the first stage of this programme of work, reasons for migration, experiences of work and future intentions of ITPs in GB were explored. Communicative proficiency of ITPs was then explored in the subsequent stages from the perspective of ITPs themselves, as well as that of pharmacy employers to see whether and how this has negative implications for patient safety.Methodology - For stage one 29 semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 11 adjudication, 14 EU and four reciprocal pharmacists in Manchester and London. For stage two eight focus groups and two semi-structured interviews were conducted with 31 EU and 11 adjudication pharmacists in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. For stage three, nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven community and two hospital ITPs' employers.Findings - The findings confirmed that reasons for migration of ITPs are multifactorial. Motives were often, but not exclusively, economic or professional. In general, adjudication pharmacists are happy with the Overseas Pharmacists' Assessment Programme and the pre-registration training that they had received, while the EU pharmacists tended to be more critical of their adaptation programmes. While overall the reciprocal pharmacists were happy with their work experience in GB, EU and adjudication pharmacists' narratives included some dissatisfactory experiences. Communication was described as a daunting challenge, especially during the initial period after their arrival. ITPs experienced communication difficulties through new dialects, use of idioms, abbreviations and colloquial language. Most, however, were adamant that communication problems did not compromise patient safety. ITPs' employers described the importance of having processes in place to assure EU pharmacists' overall language proficiency in the workplace. However, strategies used varied in type and rigorousness. Conclusion - This novel research provides a foundation for future work on ITPs in GB, and could assist employers to better target their efforts in development of standards to support the recruitment and the working experiences of ITPs in GB.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorEllen Schafheutle (Supervisor) & Karen Hassell (Supervisor)


  • International
  • pharmacist

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