Pharmacy World & Science

, 31:188 | Cite as

Assessing job satisfaction and stress among pharmacists in Northern Ireland

  • Laura McCann
  • Carmel M. HughesEmail author
  • Colin G. Adair
  • Chris Cardwell
Research Article


Objective and Setting The pharmacy profession in Northern Ireland (NI) is currently experiencing major changes in practice development. The aim of this study was to determine the levels of job satisfaction and stress in pharmacists in NI in the context of these changes. Method A questionnaire was adapted from one previously used in the United States (US). Following minor amendments and piloting, the survey was distributed by mail on two occasions (January/February 2007) to all registered community and hospital pharmacists in NI (n = 1,965). Data were entered into SPSS (version 15) and analysed using descriptive statistics, t-test and regression analysis. The significance level was set at P < 0.05. Results The overall response rate was 39% (n = 766). Of the potentially highest stress score of 165, overall mean scores were significantly higher for community than hospital pharmacists (P < 0.05). Both groups found interruptions, excessive workload, and inadequate staffing to be the most stressful aspects of their employment. Just over 30% (n = 178) of community pharmacists and half of all hospital pharmacists cited feeling often or frequently stressed because of imminent changes in contractual or organisational arrangements. Regression analysis indicated that sector of work (community or hospital) appeared to account for differences in self-reported stress. Conclusion Any developments in professional practice need to be considered in the context of the well-being of the health professionals who implement, and are affected by, the changes. Unless stress in pharmacy is recognised and reduced, pharmacists and patients may be at risk.


Community pharmacist Hospital pharmacist Job-related stress Job satisfaction Northern Ireland 



We thank all pharmacists who took time to respond to the questionnaire.


This study was funded under a studentship provided to Laura McCann from the Northern Ireland Centre for Pharmacy Learning and Development.

Conflicts of interest:

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura McCann
    • 1
  • Carmel M. Hughes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Colin G. Adair
    • 2
  • Chris Cardwell
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PharmacyQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  2. 2.Northern Ireland Centre for Pharmacy Learning and DevelopmentQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  3. 3.School of Medicine and DentistryQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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