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National Pharmacist Workforce Study

Ranks of Pharmacists Shrink as Job Demands Grow

The U.S. pharmacy profession could face a worsening shortage of pharmacists in the next decade as more men prepare to retire and more men and women opt for part-time work, according to a new study released today by the Pharmacy Manpower Project, Inc. (PMP). The National Pharmacist Workforce Study finds the potential worsening shortfall coming at a pivotal time with pharmacists wanting to spend less time dispensing drugs and more time providing patient-centered services such as immunizations and counseling seniors on proper medication usage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The study was released today at the American Pharmacists Association’s Annual Meeting & Exposition and will be published in the May/June 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA).

The number of practicing women pharmacists increased from 31 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2004. The study finds a large percentage of male pharmacists nearing retirement, with more than four in 10 (41.2 percent) age 55 and over, compared with only about 10 percent of women. Meanwhile, more men and women are working part time—27 percent of women and 15.5 percent of men in 2004 (compared to 23.4 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively, in 2000).

“The changing face of pharmacy will be increasingly evident in the next five to 10 years with more women in the workforce, the potential for more part-time work by pharmacists, and the desire of pharmacists to spend more time on counseling and other patient services,” says David A. Mott, Ph.D., the study’s project director and associate professor and Hammel/Sanders chair in pharmacy administration at the University of Wisconsin.

Although the trend of part-time work is increasing for both men and women pharmacists, the study finds the trend toward more part-time work is being fueled by women. For women age 31-50, more than 30 percent are working part time.

Pharmacists’ roles are very diverse. In 2004 pharmacists spent 49 percent of their day dispensing drugs and 32 percent of their time on activities such as advising patients on drug therapies, evaluating the safety of drug therapy, administering vaccines, and counseling patients on services ranging from self-care to disease management. The results suggest pharmacists would like to spend only 39 percent of their day dispensing drugs and increase the time spent providing services to patients to 48 percent of their day.

“The roles of pharmacists continue to expand to meet the growing and diverse needs of patients,” says Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., PMP President and Executive Vice President of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Maine cited the critical role that pharmacists have played this year in administering the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Consistent with the growing number of prescriptions dispensed in community pharmacies, the workload for pharmacists has increased between 2000 and 2004. Pharmacists report the high workload can negatively affect their work, including activities such as ability to take a break (48 percent), opportunity to reduce errors (36 percent), time spent with patients (35 percent); and ability to solve drug therapy problems (33 percent).

The most stressful events for pharmacists include inadequate pharmacy technician staffing levels (38 percent), phone interruptions (37 percent), and inadequate pharmacists’ staffing (34 percent). “Dealing with difficult patients” and “dealing with difficult co-workers” are cited by 33 percent of pharmacists.

Despite the high workload, the study finds a high level of job satisfaction. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of pharmacists in 2004 report a “high level” of job satisfaction compared with 66 percent in 2000.

“This study shows the need for pharmacy schools to produce the best and brightest to meet these new health care challenges and provide patients with the highest level of quality care,” says Maine.

Results of the National Pharmacist Workforce Study were compiled by a questionnaire completed by 1,470 practicing pharmacists.

The study was commissioned by the PMP. The PMP is comprised of Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Apothecaries, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Bureau of Health Professions, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Council of State Pharmacy Association Executives, National Pharmaceutical Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

The Pharmacy Manpower Project, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation consisting of all major national, pharmaceutical professional and trade organizations. Its mission is to serve the public and the profession by developing data regarding the size and demography of the pharmacy practitioner workforce and conducting and supporting research in areas related to that workforce.

In the following pages, you will find brief information useful to overseas pharmacists that want to work in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

The complete details can be found in 'Your Complete Guide to Overseas Pharmacy Career.'

It is a downloadable eBook. It is not available in paper format.

Information for overseas pharmacists


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