In the absence of literature reporting the transition experiences of novice community pharmacists, peer-reviewed evidence on the transition experiences of novice doctors and nurses was identified and reviewed. Specific objectives included identifying the challenges to transition and their perceived impact, before considering the implications for novice community pharmacists.
The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and ScienceDirect were searched for full peer-reviewed original research papers published 1990-March 2015, reporting the transition experiences of novice doctors and nurses. A narrative review following coding of themes was undertaken to synthesize findings with transferability.
Twenty-five papers using qualitative and quantitative methods were retrieved from nursing (18) and medicine (6). Challenges were categorised into three themes; personal experiences (where acquiring professional accountability, failing to meet expectations, and emotional, cognitive and physical demands of the job heightened stress), social experiences (where support and acceptance at work were hindered by organisational culture, hierarchy or interpersonal conflict) and challenges from job-related experiences (high workloads, task complexity, staffing, rotations and shift patterns). Challenging transitions were perceived by novice practitioners and their peers as impeding learning, impairing performance and having negative implications for patient care.
While some of these findings may be transferable to community pharmacy settings, contextual differences exist; relative isolation from professional peers, commercially-driven private sector settings, full, immediate acquisition of professional accountability and the lack of clinical career pathways or formalised support. Given these differences, is it appropriate that ‘day-one’ community pharmacists are fully and immediately accountable? Empirical research exploring transition to practice in the community pharmacy setting is needed.