Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

With demand for prescriptiondrugs on therise, the nation'scommunity pharmacistsare worryingthat theirgrowing workload isaffecting their professionalresponsibilities. The findings of anew study released by the PharmacyManpower Project Inc (PMP) showthat the workload for America's pharmacistsincreased measurablybetween 2000 and 2004 and thatmany practitioners believe that patientcare could suffer as a result.

In the study, 36% of the pharmacistssurveyed said that the growingworkload has negatively affectedtheir ability to reduce medicationerrors; 35% said that they have lessopportunity to spend time withpatients; and 33% said that workloadpressures are harming their ability tosolve drug-therapy problems.

In 2004, pharmacists spent 49% oftheir day dispensing drugs and 32%on activities such as advising patientson drug therapies, evaluating thesafety of drug therapy, administeringvaccines, and counseling patients, theresearchers said. Ideally, however, thepharmacists surveyed would likethose numbers reversed so that theycould spend 48% of their time providingcounseling and other patient servicesand only 39% of their time dispensingdrugs.

Despite the workload pressures,however, the study found that jobsatisfaction levels among the nation'spharmacists are on the rise.Better than 3 out of 4 pharmacistsreported a "high level" of job satisfactionin 2004, compared with only66% in 2000.