Special Issue "The Labor Market for Pharmacists"

A special issue of Pharmacy (ISSN 2226-4787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Surrey M. Walton
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy Systems Outcomes and Research, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois Chicago, IL 60612, USA
Interests: quantitative research in health services evaluation; health economics; pharmacoeconomics; health care labor markets

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pharmaceutical care continues to be a central feature in health care delivery in the US.  Pharmacists play an ever-growing role in ensuring access to safe and effective treatments, and management of complex chronic conditions.  Shortages and disparities in access to pharmacists and pharmacy services can have substantial impacts on public health.  Meanwhile, how the labor market for pharmacists and other health professionals functions fundamentally impacts access to these services.  This Special Issue will focus on how the pharmacist labor market has been, and will, function in terms of wages and the numbers and distributions of employed pharmacists and pharmacist extenders, as well as identifying shortages and disparities in access to pharmacy services.  It will also include studies on how the labor market for pharmacists relates to, and compares with, the labor markets of other health professions, on trends in pharmacy schools and their impact on the supply of pharmacists, as well as trends in particular services provided by pharmacists, the impact of policy on these services, and the relationship between access to pharmacists and health outcomes.

Prof. Dr. Surrey M. Walton
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmacy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Health Care Labor Markets
  • Pharmacists
  • Workforce
  • Wages
  • Pharmaceutical Care
  • Shortages
  • Disparities
  • Pharmacy Schools
  • Clinical Pharmacy Services
  • Reimbursement
  • Health Outcomes

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Is It a Good Time to Be a Pharmacist in the US?
Pharmacy 2018, 6(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030061 - 03 Jul 2018
Abstract
The labor market for pharmacists in the United States has seen significant dynamics over the past couple of decades in both demand and supply. The purpose of this brief editorial is to discuss some key concerns for pharmacists in the current labor market [...] Read more.
The labor market for pharmacists in the United States has seen significant dynamics over the past couple of decades in both demand and supply. The purpose of this brief editorial is to discuss some key concerns for pharmacists in the current labor market and over the next decade. A key issue in evaluating how pharmacists will fare in moving forward into expanded clinical roles and functions will be the degree to which they expand their professional autonomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Pharmacy Technicians’ Willingness to Perform Emerging Tasks in Community Practice
Pharmacy 2018, 6(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6040113 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
New tasks are being developed for pharmacy technicians in community practice. The objectives of this study were to (1) assess the willingness of community pharmacy technicians to perform new tasks, and (2) to identify factors affecting technicians in assuming new tasks in community [...] Read more.
New tasks are being developed for pharmacy technicians in community practice. The objectives of this study were to (1) assess the willingness of community pharmacy technicians to perform new tasks, and (2) to identify factors affecting technicians in assuming new tasks in community pharmacy practice. An online survey asked about the respondent characteristics, involvement in pharmacy technician tasks, willingness to perform emerging pharmacy technician tasks, and influences on pharmacy technicians’ performance of emerging tasks. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all items. A total of 639 usable surveys from community pharmacy technicians were used in the analyses. The respondents reported a mean of 11.5 years working as a pharmacy technician, with 79.2% working full time. Technicians reported high willingness to perform four emerging tasks, moderate willingness for six tasks, and low willingness to perform two tasks. The low willingness tasks were administering a vaccination and drawing a blood sample with a finger stick. Four workplace influences on willingness to perform emerging tasks were insufficient staffing, insufficient time to complete additional tasks, employers not classifying technicians based on specialized skills, and usually feeling stress at work. It appears likely that pharmacy technicians will be willing to perform the new tasks needed to support the emerging patient care services in community pharmacies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)
Open AccessArticle
An Opportunity for Pharmacists to Help Improve Coordination and Continuity of Patient Health Care
Pharmacy 2018, 6(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030078 - 01 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Pharmacist workforce researchers are predicting a potential surplus of pharmacists in the United States that might result in pharmacists being available for engagement in new roles. The objective for this study was to describe consumer opinions regarding medication use, the health care system, [...] Read more.
Pharmacist workforce researchers are predicting a potential surplus of pharmacists in the United States that might result in pharmacists being available for engagement in new roles. The objective for this study was to describe consumer opinions regarding medication use, the health care system, and pharmacists to help identify new roles for pharmacists from the consumer perspective. Data were obtained from the 2015 and 2016 National Consumer Surveys on the Medication Experience and Pharmacist Roles. Out of the representative sample of 36,673 respondents living in the United States, 80% (29,426) submitted written comments at the end of the survey. Of these, 2178 were specifically about medicines, pharmacists or health and were relevant and usable for this study. Thematic analysis, content analysis, and computer-based text mining were used for identifying themes and coding comments. The findings showed that 66% of the comments about medication use and 82% about the health care system were negative. Regarding pharmacists, 73% of the comments were positive with many commenting about the value of the pharmacist for overcoming fears and for filling current gaps in their healthcare. We propose that these comments might be signals that pharmacists could help improve coordination and continuity for peoples’ healthcare and could help guide the development of new service offerings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)
Open AccessArticle
Associations between Work Activity and Work Setting Categories and Dimensions of Pharmacists’ Quality of Work Life
Pharmacy 2018, 6(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030062 - 04 Jul 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The goal for this study was to use data from the most recently conducted National Pharmacist Workforce Survey to compare eight components of quality of work life for actively practicing pharmacists in the United States categorized by (1) work activity and (2) work [...] Read more.
The goal for this study was to use data from the most recently conducted National Pharmacist Workforce Survey to compare eight components of quality of work life for actively practicing pharmacists in the United States categorized by (1) work activity and (2) work setting. The eight components of quality of work life were: (1) time stress; (2) responsibility stress; (3) level of control; (4) work in harmony with home life; (5) home life in harmony with work; (6) job satisfaction; (7) professional commitment; and (8) organizational commitment. Data for this study were obtained from the 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey. For inclusion in analysis, respondents needed to report that they were practicing as a pharmacist. In addition, they needed to provide usable responses for both their percent time devoted to medication providing and to patient care services. This resulted in a total of 1191 responses for the analysis. Data were analyzed using cluster analysis, factor analysis, Cronbach coefficient alpha, chi-square analysis, ANOVA, and linear regression. The findings provide a description of pharmacists’ quality of work life in 2014 and show how type of work, variety of work, and work setting categories are associated with quality of work life for pharmacists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)
Open AccessArticle
A 15 Year Ecological Comparison for the Market Dynamics of Minnesota Community Pharmacies from 2002 to 2017
Pharmacy 2018, 6(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6020050 - 02 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background: Understanding the factors that influence the market entry, exit, and stability of community pharmacies (i.e., market dynamics) is important for stakeholders ranging from patients to health policymakers and small business owners to large corporate institutions. Objective: The study’s first objective was to [...] Read more.
Background: Understanding the factors that influence the market entry, exit, and stability of community pharmacies (i.e., market dynamics) is important for stakeholders ranging from patients to health policymakers and small business owners to large corporate institutions. Objective: The study’s first objective was to describe the market dynamics of community pharmacies for Minnesota counties in 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017 by associating county (a) population density and (b) metropolitan designation with the change in the number of ‘All community pharmacies,’ ‘Chain community pharmacies’, and ‘Independent community pharmacies’. The study’s second objective was to describe the number and proportion of community pharmacies for Minnesota counties in 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017 by (1) ‘Business Organization Structure’ and (2) ‘Pharmacy Type.’ Methods: County-level data were obtained from the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, US Census Bureau, and Minnesota State Demographic Center for 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017. Findings were summarized and the associations between study variables described using descriptive statistics. Results: The ratio of ‘Independent community pharmacies’ to ‘Chain community pharmacies’ was about 1:1 (466:530) in 2002, 1:2 (352:718) in 2007, 1:2 (387:707) in 2012, and 1:3 (256:807) in 2017. There was not a consistent relationship that carried through the 15 year analysis between county population density and metropolitan designation and the market dynamic patterns of community pharmacies. The types of pharmacy in Minnesota changed significantly over the study with increases in state, regional, and national chains and declines in single entity and small chain independents. There were also notable declines in mass merchandiser community pharmacies and increases in clinic and medical center community pharmacies. Discussion: The findings suggest that different or additional factors beyond traditional market dynamic predictors of population density and metropolitan designation were at play in each five year interval of this study. We propose that the traditional dichotomy of independent and chain community pharmacy groupings no longer provide an optimal characterization for the market dynamics of pharmacies today. Instead, community pharmacies may be better organized by their capacity to operate as healthcare access points that provide and are reimbursed for patient care and public health services like medication therapy management, immunizations, and more. Conclusions: The findings showed that community pharmacy distribution in Minnesota’s 87 counties has shifted between 2002 and 2017 from traditional retail models to emerging healthcare models based on population health needs. This signals the need for not only a new approach for tracking community pharmacy market dynamics but also adjustments by community pharmacies to remain relevant in a new environment of patient care services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Adherence to Oral Anticancer Medications: Evolving Interprofessional Roles and Pharmacist Workforce Considerations
Pharmacy 2018, 6(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6010023 - 08 Mar 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Interprofessional care is exhibited in outpatient oncology practices where practitioners from a myriad of specialties (e.g., oncology, nursing, pharmacy, health informatics and others) work collectively with patients to enhance therapeutic outcomes and minimize adverse effects. Historically, most ambulatory-based anticancer medication therapies have been [...] Read more.
Interprofessional care is exhibited in outpatient oncology practices where practitioners from a myriad of specialties (e.g., oncology, nursing, pharmacy, health informatics and others) work collectively with patients to enhance therapeutic outcomes and minimize adverse effects. Historically, most ambulatory-based anticancer medication therapies have been administrated in infusion clinics or physician offices. Oral anticancer medications (OAMs) have become increasingly prevalent and preferred by patients for use in residential or other non-clinic settings. Self-administration of OAMs represents a significant shift in the management of cancer care and role responsibilities for patients and clinicians. While patients have a greater sense of empowerment and convenience when taking OAMs, adherence is a greater challenge than with intravenous therapies. This paper proposes use of a qualitative systems evaluation, based on theoretical frameworks for interdisciplinary team collaboration and systems science, to examine the social interactionism involved with the use of intravenous anticancer treatments and OAMs (as treatment technologies) by describing patient, organizational, and social systems considerations in communication, care, control, and context (i.e., Kaplan’s 4Cs). This conceptualization can help the healthcare system prepare for substantial workforce changes in cancer management, including increased utilization of oncology pharmacists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Maintaining Vitality: Pharmacists’ Continuing Professional Education Decision-Making in the Upper Midwest
Pharmacy 2018, 6(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6010014 - 01 Feb 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Continuing professional education (CPE) plays an important role in continuing professional development of pharmacists for providing quality pharmaceutical care but also to maintain professional and organizational vitality and meet changing community/population needs. The study objective was to describe and understand factors of importance [...] Read more.
Continuing professional education (CPE) plays an important role in continuing professional development of pharmacists for providing quality pharmaceutical care but also to maintain professional and organizational vitality and meet changing community/population needs. The study objective was to describe and understand factors of importance in selection of CPE credit hours among Upper Midwest pharmacists. A cross-sectional study of licensed pharmacists (n = 1239) in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota included completion of a questionnaire on demographics and CPE decision-making. Factor analysis, t-test, and multivariate analyses were performed using Stata 10.1. Pharmacists placed greatest importance on maintaining licensure (mean = 2.72/3.00), personal interest (mean = 2.57), and self-improvement (mean = 2.42). Community/population need (mean = 1.83) was rated as slightly more important (p < 0.01) by retail/community pharmacists, females, and those with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree or pharmacy residency while business growth/development (mean = 1.33) was rated slightly more important (p < 0.01) by retail/community pharmacists. Despite findings that neither community/population need nor business development were among the most important factors in pharmacists’ CPE selection, there exists significant potential for pharmacists to utilize CPE to maintain professional and organizational vitality in the labor market, but more importantly to ensure continued provision of quality pharmaceutical care and patient education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)

Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Examining the Pharmacist Labor Supply in the United States: Increasing Medication Use, Aging Society, and Evolution of Pharmacy Practice
Pharmacy 2019, 7(3), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy7030137 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The increasing number of pharmacists in the US has generated concern regarding potential oversupply. A 2018 analysis from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) in the US projected a best case scenario of an oversupply of more than 18,000 pharmacists in [...] Read more.
The increasing number of pharmacists in the US has generated concern regarding potential oversupply. A 2018 analysis from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) in the US projected a best case scenario of an oversupply of more than 18,000 pharmacists in the year 2030. In this commentary, the limitations of this general health labor force analysis by the NCHWA are described. The goal of this work was to provide a more nuanced examination of the pharmacist labor demand in the US. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) were utilized to examine, annually over a ten year period ending in 2017, the number of pharmacists, the ratio of pharmacists to persons living in the US, the ratio of pharmacists to older adults living in the US, and the ratio of medications to pharmacists. The number of pharmacists grew from 266,410 in 2008 to 309,330 in 2017. As anticipated, despite a growing US population, the ratio of people living in the US per pharmacist dropped unabated from 1141 to 1053 from 2008 to 2017, respectively. However, the reverse trend was observed for the ratio of persons 65 years or older per pharmacist. This ratio increased from 146.1 older adults to each pharmacist in 2008 to 164.3 in 2017. The accelerating demographic shift to an older population is also reversing an overall trend in the number of medications to pharmacist that will continue for the foreseeable future. While the ratio of medications to pharmacist dropped overall from 2008 to 2016, it has begun to rise again from 2016 to 2017. Beyond the increasing number of medications attributable to a rapidly aging population, there is a growing demand for clinical care from pharmacists due to the maturing environment of complex, costly medications for chronic disease treatment. As the portion of total health expenditure is increasingly devoted to medications and the US health delivery system continues its movement to community-based care, the demand for pharmacist care will require a larger number of pharmacists trained for advanced-practice care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Labor Market for Pharmacists)
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