To ascertain the thoughts of selected professional leaders on matters relating to pharmacist professionalism. These views will help build a picture of the professional status of pharmacy.
Methods - Semi-structured interviews were conducted between July and November 2013 with representatives from eight UK pharmacy leadership bodies. The bodies were selected for their roles in pharmacy policy development, regulation and professional representation. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis by constant comparison identified a number of emerging themes.
Results - The following emerging themes were identified from the interview data: Influence of the Pharmacy Landscape: Participants highlighted the role that pharmacy plays within the National Health Service and wider society and how future developments may affect the professional status currently afforded to pharmacists. Vocalising Pharmacy: Communication within the profession and also with those external to the profession, including other healthcare professionals and the general public, is important to ensure a high professional standing. The Impact of Commercialism: Professionalism and commercialism were generally seen to be antithetical and a rise in commercialism may adversely impact on external perceptions of the professionalism of pharmacy. Responsibility for Professionalism: The professional image of pharmacy is maintained by the individuals operating within it regardless of their scope of practice. It is the responsibility of all those individuals to ensure that they actively demonstrate ‘professional’ behaviours. The Journey to Professionalism: Acquiring a professional ethos is a continual process but there are stages in a pharmacist’s development that are considered particularly important. These include upbringing, undergraduate education and pre-registration training.
Conclusions - Pharmacy’s professional status in the UK remains open to challenge and vital to retaining that status is the public perception of pharmacists. Future research examining pharmacy’s claims to professional status should focus on exploring the attitudes of the general public in addition to the views of pharmacists.
From 'Podium and poster presentations' of the 18th International Social Pharmacy Workshop (ISPW), Boston, MA (US), 5-8 August 2014.