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Title: Application of work study techniques to quantify the work of community pharmacists.
Author: Rutter, Paul Michael.
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 2000
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The way in which British community pharmacists work has been much talked about but, until now, not quantified. A review of work study techniques within the field of pharmacy revealed that community pharmacy had been largely neglected. In the light of recommendations to extend the community pharmacists' role to provide non-traditional services it was necessary to examine community pharmacy practice to investigate the feasibility of diversifying pharmacy roles. Utilising the technique of subjective evaluation, pharmacy managers from a national multiple chain were asked to estimate how much time they spent on each of sixteen activity categories that had been devised by the author to represent their work. Three hundred and twenty three managers replied to the study generating 1,084 usable responses. The findings showed that seven categories accounted for almost 80% of their time, of which dispensing [as defined in this thesis] occupied proportionally the greatest amount of time of any category [37%]. However, subjective evaluation relies on estimation and has been previously criticised as being imprecise. A further work study technique, work sampling, was chosen as the most appropriate validation tool to determine the accuracy of the subjective evaluation findings. Five pre-registration pharmacists recorded the work of five pharmacy managers, generating 2,682 observations. The results from the observed data set were compared with those from subjective evaluation. Only two categories were found to be significantly different, lending weight to the assumption that the results obtained from the subjective evaluation study were an accurate record of how community pharmacists spent their time. These results demonstrated that the work patterns of community pharmacists mainly centre on the supply of medicines. The final stage of the research programme attempted to alter pharmacist work patterns via a skill mix programme in an attempt to limit pharmacist involvement in technical tasks such as dispensing. A `pre-test post-test' design was employed to determine the success of the study on three outcome measuresthe change in work patterns after skill mix implementation; non-pharmacist acceptance of altering their way of working; the perceptions held by the pharmacists also on the new way of working. The results showed that pharmacists' work patterns were altered, although changes could not be directly attributable to the intervention. In addition, the principal aim of substantially reducing the time they spent dispensing was not achieved. Non-pharmacist staff, on the whole, accepted or preferred the change to work practice as too did pharmacists. However, barriers to change were identified which needed to be rectified before skill mixing can have a significant impact on freeing pharmacist time away from dispensing
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pharmacy practice Medical care Labor