Pharmacists More Satisfied, Confident in Care Provided at Independent Community Pharmacies, Survey Finds

By Kevin Schweers

Pharmacists who practice in an independent community pharmacy are significantly more satisfied with their work and far less likely to say that workload issues negatively impact the quality of patient care, compared to their counterparts in national chain and mass merchant settings, according to the first National Pharmacist Workforce Survey in five years.

I Love My Community PharmacyThe survey was prepared by the Midwest Pharmacy Workforce Research Consortium and posted online at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy website. There, both the executive summary and the full survey results are available. This is the second of two blog posts examining the survey; to read the first blog post click here.

Independent community pharmacists and their patients may be interested in the following findings:

  • Seventy-five percent of pharmacists in independent community pharmacy settings expressed satisfaction with their jobs, compared to 46 percent in chains and 49 percent in mass merchandisers. Compared to the 2000 survey results, the independent pharmacists’ job satisfaction essentially held steady, whereas that of pharmacists in the other two settings mentioned above declined markedly, from 59 and 61 percent, respectively, to their current levels.
  • Approximately half of pharmacists in chain (46 percent) and mass merchant (51 percent) settings reported that their current pharmacy workload had a “negative” or “very negative” impact on the quality of care provided to patients. Only 13 percent of independent pharmacists agreed with that statement.
  • In terms of job stress, some independent community pharmacists (38 percent) cited “doing excessive paperwork” as a problem; whereas a majority of pharmacists in chain and mass merchant settings said “having to meet quotas” and “not being staffed with an adequate number of technicians” were both sources of high levels of stress.

Of course pharmacists in settings outside of independent pharmacies are committed to helping their patients. But these numbers do speak to the differences between practice environments and the advantages of independent community pharmacies.

More broadly, the survey’s organizers noted that the findings “suggest that we are living in dynamic times as a health profession”; that “more pharmacists are reporting their pharmacies are providing direct patient care services”; and that “Pharmacists in 2014 have the highest level of commitment to the profession seen in the past 15 years. The increase in services and new roles has led to more job stress and dissatisfaction for pharmacy practitioners.”

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