Workload and its impact on community pharmacists' job satisfaction and stress: a review of the literature

Int J Pharm Pract. 2012 Aug;20(4):259-71. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7174.2012.00192.x. Epub 2012 Feb 24.


Objective: The objective was to identify, review and evaluate published literature on workloads of pharmacists in community pharmacy. It included identification of research involving the measurement of pharmacist workload and its impact on stress levels and job satisfaction. The review focused on literature relating to practice in the UK.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched from 1995 to May 2011. In addition, manual searches were completed for documents not available electronically. The findings were analysed with specific focus on research methodology, workload and its impact on pharmacist job satisfaction and stress levels.

Key findings: Thirteen relevant studies relating to workload in community pharmacy alone or in conjunction with job satisfaction and stress were identified. One utilised both qualitative and quantitative methods to identify differences in pharmacist workload in retail pharmacy businesses before and after the implementation of the 2005 English and Welsh community pharmacy contractual framework. This indicated that pharmacists spend most of their working day dispensing. The majority of studies suggested community pharmacists generally perceived that workload levels were increasing. Several also stated that increased workload contributed to increasing job-related stress and decreasing job satisfaction. No studies reporting dispensing rates for community pharmacies in the UK were identified and there was limited evidence concerning time devoted to non-dispensing services. One study investigated the differences between self-estimated and actual workload.

Conclusions: Whilst there is a clear perception that the type and amount of work output expected from individual community pharmacists has been changing and increasing over the last few decades, pharmacists are viewed as continuing to remain based in the dispensary. The impact of such changes to the practice of community pharmacy in the UK is poorly defined, although links have been made to increasing levels of pharmacist job dissatisfaction and stress.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Professional Role
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • United Kingdom
  • Workload / psychology*