Eleven themes of patient-centred professionalism in community pharmacy: innovative approaches to consulting

Int J Pharm Pract. 2010 Oct;18(5):260-8. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7174.2010.00056.x.


Objectives: The study aimed to clarify patient-centred professionalism within and across community pharmacy settings; position that knowledge in a modern-day environment, accessing the opinions and experiences of patients and professionals; inform the literature on the value of consultation workshops within this context; and develop a template of positive and challenging exemplars of patient-centred professionalism within these contexts.

Methods: Thirty-nine study participants contributed to extended consultation workshops. Sessions were supported by bio-photographic data of healthcare practices across a range of different settings, and a final forum event.

Key findings: Thematic analysis of qualitative data, supported by the Nominal Group Work technique, led to a template containing 11 themes of positive and challenging aspects of patient-centred professionalism: safety, professional characteristics, relationships with patients, confidentiality and privacy, accessibility, training, professional pressures, services, environment, changing professional roles and patient characteristics. Themes, while descriptive and rich, highlight difficulties in defining this notion, which is both nuanced and ambiguous. While study participants were interested in the everyday examples of practice and interaction, they were strongly influenced by their different agendas and experiences. Patients, for example, wanted a quick and efficient dispensing service, where their needs and expectations came first. Pharmacists, on the other hand, found that pressing patient demands and overarching company policies led to professional anxiety that distracted them from what they perceived to be the defining aspect of their professionalism, dispensary work.

Conclusions: The study outcomes indicate, in line with international literature, that while proud of supporting patients, many pharmacists feel demoralised, torn between pressing public and professional demands and the expectations of advice-giving in unfamiliar, formal situations within nondescript, corporate workspaces.

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Confidentiality
  • Humans
  • Pharmacists
  • Professional Role
  • Referral and Consultation*