Professional identity in pharmacy

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis uses the findings from a study of pharmacists and non-pharmacists to explore the concept of professional identity in pharmacy. Pharmacists are well-established as providers of healthcare in hospitals and community pharmacies and their position as dispensers of prescribed medicines, and advisors on medicines in general seem relatively secure, as does their clinical role in hospital and their extended role in community pharmacy. However, previous studies have suggested that there is still ambiguity over the identity of pharmacists. Government policy in particular can be oblique and there seemed to be a need to clarify who pharmacists are. Consequently, a study was designed to address this topic.The concept of professional identity in pharmacy is made up of three dimensions: how pharmacists see themselves, how pharmacists believe others see them and how others do see pharmacists. This study investigated all three dimensions of professional identity in pharmacy.The research adopted a grounded theory approach and a qualitative study was undertaken in two stages. The first stage involved 21 pharmacists taking part in group interviews. The second stage involved 85 pharmacists, pharmacy support staff, nurses, doctors and lay pharmacy users participating in individual interviews. The data were analysed using the framework method.Analysis of the data generated for this study revealed nine identities for pharmacists: the medicines maker; the supplier; the scientist; the medicines advisor; the clinical practitioner; the minor medical practitioner; the unremarkable character; the business person and the manager. The pharmacists' identity as medicines advisor is considered the core identity which exists for pharmacists today and this manifests itself in different ways, depending on the setting or organisation worked in.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKaren Hassell (Supervisor)


  • professional identity
  • pharmacy

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