Factors influencing pharmacist performance: a review of the peer-reviewed literature

Health Policy. 2011 Oct;102(2-3):178-92. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.06.004. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Objectives: To undertake a review of peer-reviewed literature to explore factors affecting pharmacists' performance.

Methods: The following databases were searched: Medline, Embase, Scopus, ISI Web of Knowledge and PsychInfo. Inclusion criteria were: English language only, published between 1990 and 2010 and published in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Europe.

Results: The search strategy identified 37 items. The review found that there was some evidence to suggest that pharmacists with certain characteristics (e.g. being male, being of ethnic minority origin, working in community pharmacy and having trained overseas) were more likely to experience performance problems. Factors relating to workload and work environment were associated with performance problems, particularly in relation to errors. There was some limited evidence to suggest that experiencing problems with alcohol or drugs could negatively impact on pharmacists' performance.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that pharmacist performance may be affected by multiple factors, including personal characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, place of primary qualification, factors associated with the workplace and mental and physical health problems. The evidence is not unequivocal and gaps in the literature exist, suggesting that pharmacist performance is an under-researched area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Community Pharmacy Services / standards
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Pharmacists / standards*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Workload
  • Workplace