Locum community pharmacists' experiences and perceptions of their work

UoM administered thesis: Master of Philosophy

  • Authors:
  • Alison Astles


AbstractUniversity of Manchester Alison AstlesDegree title: Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Locum community pharmacists' experiences and perceptions of their work2011Previous work has examined motivations for undertaking locum work, and the demographics of locum community pharmacists, but little is known of the experiences they encounter during their work. This study aims to explore locum community pharmacists' experiences and perceptions of their work. It encompasses the work pressures that affect locum community pharmacists, their views of their role and how they perceive others' attitudes towards locum pharmacists. MethodTwelve semi structured interviews were conducted with locum community pharmacists identified from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain registered pharmacist database. Interviews were conducted face to face and via telephone, during May to September 2010. Participants were sampled to create diversity of age, gender and geographical location in England. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed using Nvivo software. OutcomesInterviewees revealed a range of motivations for working as a locum, which corroborated previous work and also emphasised considerable dissatisfaction with the employed environment. Interactions with staff were explored, describing the induction role of staff, and the importance of staff local knowledge. The physical environment of the pharmacy was identified as being important, influencing choice of working location. Interviewees had mixed views on access to continuing professional development. They expressed views that the responsible pharmacist regulations had little impact on their practice, that it gave them a tool to improve facilities, and that it could in theory present barriers to working safely as a locum. Interviewees described participation in pharmacy advanced and enhanced services, giving reasons for their participation or lack of it. Stresses of the locum pharmacy environment were described, including strategies for mitigating those stresses. Participants considered that perceptions of and attitudes to locum pharmacists were neutral overall, but were able to provide third party stories of poorly performing locum pharmacists. The qualities of 'good' and 'poor' locums were described. ConclusionThe study corroborates previous research into locum community pharmacy, and provides some additional insights. It reveals locum community pharmacy as a positive career choice for some pharmacists, and highlights some of the issues of employed status that motivate pharmacists to work as a locum. The large size of the locum community pharmacy workforce means that this sector cannot be ignored in either motivational or quality terms. This study provides some corroboration of previous work on motivations for locuming, and some insights into quality issues for the locum pharmacy service. Further investigation into those quality issues would be beneficial.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2011