Fitness to practise in pharmacy: a study of impairment in professional practice
- 253 Downloads
Objective To explore the opinions and knowledge of Australian pharmacists about impairment in the profession, and their awareness of new legislation regarding impairment and mandatory reporting. Setting Pharmacy practice in Australia. Method Pharmacists’ opinions and knowledge were explored using a purposively designed, de-identified survey distributed by an intermediate mailing house to randomly selected pharmacists registered with the Pharmacy Board. Descriptive statistics and thematic analyses were conducted on the data. Key Outcome Measures This being an explorative study, we analysed various items using standard statistical methods and qualitative thematic analysis for responses to open-ended questions. Results Responses from 370 registered pharmacists were obtained. Of these, nearly 60% were not confident in their knowledge of legislation relating to impairment. The vast majority stated they would consider reporting an impaired colleague in principle, but only after consulting the colleague. Older pharmacists demonstrated increased awareness of new legislation; this was accompanied however, by a marked decrease in confidence regarding knowledge about impairment. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data revealed four main themes: (1) perception of impairment and support systems available (2) stigma related to implications of impairment and whistle-blowing (3) factors affecting reporting of impairment and (4) management of impairment. Conclusion Australian pharmacists in this study recognised the importance of the issue of impairment, but appeared to lack confidence and/or awareness of legislative requirements regarding impairment in the profession. There is a need for educative programs and accessible, profession-specific rehabilitative programs to be instigated for management of impairment in the profession of pharmacy in Australia.
KeywordsFitness to practise Impairment Legislation Pharmacy practice Pharmacists Practice support Australia
We are grateful for the contribution of participating pharmacists in NSW, Australia.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Conflicts of interest
No conflict of interest declared.
- 2.Pharmacy Board of Australia (2010). Pharmacy Board of Australia. http://www.pharmacyboard.gov.au/. Accessed 5 Nov 2010.
- 8.Breen K. Doctors who self-administer drugs of dependence. Med J of Aust. 1998;169:404–5.Google Scholar
- 10.Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (2001). Alcohol and drug use among nurses: Guidelines for response in the workplace. http://www.dassa.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Response_Workplace_Nurses.pdf. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 13.Dabney D. Onset of illegal use of mind-altering or potentially addictive prescription drugs among pharmacists. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2001;41:392–400.Google Scholar
- 14.Caulfield J. Confronting an everyday malice-responding to violence in pharmacy. Aust Pharm. 2010;29:23–6.Google Scholar
- 16.Australasian Legal Information Institute (2010). Pharmacy Tribunal of NSW 2009: Larden NSWPHT (25 May, 2009). http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWPHT/2009/1.html. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 17.Australasian Legal Information Institute (2010). Health practitioner law national regulation. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_reg/hprnlr519/. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 18.Krejcie R, Morgans D. Determining sample size for research activities. Educ Psychol Measur. 1970;30:607–10.Google Scholar
- 19.Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2003). Pharmacy labour force to 2001. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra AIHW cat. no. HWL 25. (National Health Labour Force Series no. 25). www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442458283. Accessed Dec 2011.
- 20.Bissell L, Haberman PW, Williams RL. Pharmacists recovering from alcohol and other drug addictions: an interview study. Am Pharm 1989; NS29(6):19–30.Google Scholar
- 24.Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Pharmacist Support service. http://www.psa.org.au/site.php?id=1074. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 25.Pharmacists Recovery Network (2011). State PRN information. http://www.usaprn.org/statePRNinfo.htm. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 26.Nickel RO, Briske K. Aiding impaired pharmacists: what’s being done today? Am Pharm. 1985;25(6):40–4.Google Scholar
- 27.Bunting GA, Talbott GD. One road to recovery: the Georgia program. Am Pharm. 1985;25(6):52–4.Google Scholar
- 28.Simonsmeier LM, Fox LA. The law and the impaired pharmacist. Am Pharm. 1985;25(6):63–8.Google Scholar
- 29.Metge CJ, Brown P. Setting up a program: how one group went about it. Am Pharm. 1985;25(6):49–51.Google Scholar
- 30.McNees GE, Godwin HN. Programs for pharmacists impaired by substance abuse: A report. Am Pharm 1990; NS30(5):33–7.Google Scholar
- 32.National Clinical Assessment Service (UK), http://www.ncas.npsa.nhs.uk/about-ncas/. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 33.Levy S. Beware the dark side of pharmacy life. Drug topics. 2002;46(13):33–41.Google Scholar
- 34.Royal Pharmaceutical Society (2011). Support for pharmacists. http://www.rpharms.com/support/our-support-service.asp. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 35.Harvie F. Drug addiction is a disease and even pharmacists sometimes need support. Pharm J. 2008;280:59.Google Scholar
- 36.Qualter D. Benevolent fund needs your input. Pharm J. 2008;280:255.Google Scholar
- 37.Nathan A. Who are the listening friends? Pharm J. 2002;269:367–8.Google Scholar
- 38.Nathan A. Put down the metal bar, pick up the telephone: listening friends can help. Pharm J. 2006;277:575.Google Scholar
- 39.Schattner P, Davidson S, Serry N. Doctor’s health and well-being: Taking up the challenge in Australia. Med J Aust 2004; 181(7):348–349. Editorial. http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/181_07_041004/sch10547_fm.html. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.Google Scholar
- 40.Medical Council of NSW (2010). Notifications of impaired practitioners to the Board http://www.mcnsw.org.au/index.pl?page=39. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 42.Victorian Doctors Health Program (2010). Victorian Doctors Health Program. http://www.vdhp.org.au/index.htm Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 43.Doctors Health Advisory Service (2011). Doctors Health Advisory Service. http://www.dhas.org.au/. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 44.Nurses’ registration board of NSW. Professional conduct: a case book of disciplinary decisions relating to professional conduct matters. Sydney: South Wood press; 2001.Google Scholar
- 45.Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria (2011) http://www.nmhp.org.au/NMHP/Welcome.html. Accessed 9 Dec 2011.
- 46.Australian Nursing federation. Support for nurses a welcome first (VIC). Aust Nurs J 2006; 13(9):9.Google Scholar