Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Understanding the factors influencing community pharmacist retention - a qualitative study

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-09, 15:29 authored by Matthew LynchMatthew Lynch, Aisling O'LearyAisling O'Leary

Background: Shortages in healthcare workers affects the overall delivery and effectiveness of the provision of healthcare. There are currently insufficient pharmacists working in the community sector in Ireland. While several studies have reported on the factors leading to retention in the medical and nursing profession, there is an absence of robust research examining retention within the pharmacist workforce in Ireland.

Objective: To identify and understand the range of factors currently at play in the community pharmacy sector in Ireland which influence the decision-making process for pharmacists deciding whether or not to continue to practice as a community pharmacist.

Method: A cross-sectional qualitative descriptive study was used to investigate the factors influencing community pharmacist retention as elicited from the lived experiences of 23 pharmacists. Study recruitment was undertaken using both convenience and purposive sampling. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the interview data to identify and explore themes.

Results: A broad and diverse range of factors were identified as affecting community pharmacist retention including working conditions, career fulfilment and progression, regulatory and administrative burden, the commercial focus within community practice, lack of representation and their overall health and well-being.

Conclusion: The findings show that there are a number of factors which either individually or cumulatively influence a pharmacist's decision to stay in or leave community practice. Various areas for change were identified, which if addressed are considered likely to improve retention in the sector. These include enhanced terms and working conditions, better acknowledgement and resourcing of professional activities, improved opportunities for career progression, reforms to the regulatory model including the personal accountability of a supervising pharmacist for all of the pharmacy's professional activities, a more streamlined model of reimbursement and more effective collective representation.



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Published Citation

Lynch M, O'Leary AC. Understanding the factors influencing community pharmacist retention - a qualitative study. Explor Res Clin Soc Pharm. 2023;12:100329.

Publication Date

9 September 2023

PubMed ID



  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences


Elsevier Inc.,


  • Published Version (Version of Record)