In recent decades, much work has been done to identify and understand medication errors (including near misses) and to characterize the root of their causes. What remains is the need to critically examine workplace factors to determine how they may affect medication error occurrence. Information learned through the Well-being Index for Pharmacy (APhA) free-text comments suggest that pharmacists largely believe that workplace conditions – meeting unreasonable metrics, insufficient staffing, lack of breaks, ill-educated/trained technicians – are the primary source of their stress and concern for patient safety. There have been surveys done over the last few years, but none that look at the issue state-by-state versus a national benchmark. None have provided the data regulators indicate they need to begin to address revisions to state practice laws and/or regulations. State Boards of Pharmacy and others have said that the lack of this type of quantifiable data is why it is difficult to make changes to state practice acts and regulations that pharmacists say are needed to address stressors in pharmacy practice.
APhA and NASPA began a collaboration to address pharmacy workplace issues by appointing a work group in the Fall of 2020. The work group learned about the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA) survey, fielded in the first half of 2020, that was designed to gain feedback from pharmacists and pharmacy professionals regarding the pharmacy practice environment and professional well-being. The results highlighted, in quantifiable terms, the need for a more transparent and clear feedback process between staff and leadership regarding metrics, a desire for more professional development support, and a renewed commitment to optimal patient safety and quality across all levels of the pharmacy community.
Using the TPA survey project as a model, the APhA and NASPA work group developed a national state-based pharmacy workplace survey and is making it available to VPhA.
The goals for this survey project are to:
- Provide a uniform nationwide platform for VPhA to utilize.
- Reach as many pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists from across practice settings as possible.
- Seek to identify VA-specific workplace conditions and the sustained stress experienced by pharmacists and pharmacy personnel that may lead to medication errors.
- Learn about VA-specific issues that will lead to a better understanding how of that state’s practice act, regulations, administrative requirements, and workplace conditions may be affecting pharmacists, pharmacy personnel, and patient care.
- Develop a rich data set that can be studied by individual state, state vs state, region, or national.
- Develop a rich data set that can be used by task forces or groups addressing workplace issues.
The survey will open for use on March 22, 2021 and close on August 31, 2021.
A pharmacy workplace survey has been created, housed nationally, for VPhA. After the survey closes, high level data report will be generated for each state association with a comparison to the national.