Professional engagement of locum community pharmacists

Astles, Alison Margaret (2017) Professional engagement of locum community pharmacists. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Locum community pharmacists (‘locums’) constitute a significant proportion of the community pharmacy workforce in the UK, and have been identified as isolated practitioners who work outside existing quality assurance processes. This study examines professional engagement of locums in terms of their networking with pharmacist colleagues and their professional identity as pharmacists. With a constructivist, inductive approach, the study consisted of a series of five focus groups
with a total of 25 participants in 2013, which were thematically analysed to yield a series of themes around professional engagement. The focus groups confirmed the isolation felt by locums and the effort undertaken by them to develop and maintain networks with colleagues. Locums used their networks for obtaining information, benchmarking their practice,
decreasing personal stress, problem solving, sharing opinion on moral and ethical issues and promoting professional growth
Next, the LocumVoice online forum for locum pharmacists was observed for a two month period in 2014, with the data being examined using an adaptation of Bales’ interaction process analysis, integrated with thematic analysis of the content. The interactions and content of the forum support it being considered a pharmacy community of practice, with locums’
interactions developing professional identity concepts via storytelling, sharing opinions and information. In particular, views on the nature of the role of the pharmacist were prominent in the discussions. The study contributes to knowledge of UK locum community pharmacists in that it describes the purpose and value of networking as perceived by locums and examines in detail the interactions occurring on an online community of practice that contribute to locum professional engagement and identity development.

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