Newly-registered community pharmacists experience high strain and professional isolation, study reveals

Community pharmacy

The transition to independent community pharmacy practice is associated with emotional stress and workplace isolation, according to a study published in Health and Social Care in the Community
 on 20 July 2018.

The study aimed to identify the challenges faced by newly-registered novice community pharmacists at transition to independent practitioners and the perceptions of the relative importance of these challenges.

To do this, researchers held group discussions between November 2015 and April 2016 in north-west England involving novice community pharmacists, early career pharmacists, work-based preregistration tutors and pharmacy support staff.

The five most important challenges, identified in the discussions, faced by novice community pharmacists at transition were identified as: managing relationships, confidence, decision-making, being in charge and accountable, and adapting to the workplace.

The novice community pharmacists said they experienced emotional stress, low self-esteem and distress in response to professional accountability, fear of making errors or not meeting the expectations of others. In the context of a pressured work environment, the report said, these stressors diminished the psychological capacity of novice community pharmacists, resulting in them feeling overwhelmed.

Discussions also suggested the emergence of a perceived divide between pharmacists and their teams, which the researchers described as “concerning”.

Future research should explore how factors such as undergraduate programme, preregistration training experiences, locum or employee status, organisational culture and workplace environment influence the transition period, and also what types of interventions could be developed to ease transition challenges, the researchers concluded.


[1] Magola E, Willis S & Schafheutle E. Community pharmacists at transition to independent practice: isolated, unsupported and stressed. Health Soc Care Community 2018;1–10. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12596

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, August 2018, Vol 301, No 7916;301(7916):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205230

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