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

Authors: 
Ellen I. Schafheutle, Elizabeth M. Seston, Karen Hassell
Research Summary: 


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.