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Are all pharmacy staff interested in potential future roles?


Dr Rhiannon Braund, School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand. E-mail:


Objectives  To determine the current perceived roles and responsibilities of pharmacy staff in community pharmacies in New Zealand, and attitudes to proposed new advanced roles for pharmacy staff.

Methods  Structured interviews were conducted within five community pharmacies, including at least two pharmacists, two dispensary staff and two pharmacy assistants. The interviews were structured to determine previous experience, current roles and responsibilities and the perceived future roles of pharmacy staff within a community pharmacy setting. Thematic analysis from 27 interviews identified key findings.

Key findings  Current roles appeared to be fairly well defined. Pharmacy assistants listed key roles as customer interactions and sales focus, noting that the dispensary was outside their area of responsibility. Technicians identified their role as being dispensary focused while pharmacists saw their role as the ‘final check’ to ensure accuracy as well as providing dispensing, counselling and managerial roles. With potential future roles, the assistants were less interested than the other groups, citing contentment with current situation and training as a barrier. Some technicians indicated an interest in furthering their roles, but many were reluctant and saw that additional training was too time consuming. Whilst pharmacists appeared to be interested in further scopes of practice, they appeared more reluctant to do this at the expense of handing dispensing responsibility to a non-pharmacist.

Conclusions  Whilst there is a push for pharmacists to provide advanced clinical services, it is important to acknowledge that many staff working within community pharmacies are satisfied with their current role.