Small Groups in Pharmacies Could Help Address Community, Professional Development


The findings of a study showed that the percentage of “I am satisfied with my job” respondents increased by 28.7% for those in the pilot and decreased by 17.9% for those not in the pilot.

Small professional groups that are supported by department leadership could be one way to address workplace isolation and community and professional development, according to the results of a study presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ 2021 Midyear conference.

The pilot study targeted pharmacists that were hired within 2 years of the study but were there for at least 6 months. In total, there were 32 pharmacists eligible and 17 who agreed to participate in the study.

The 17 participants were organized into 2 groups that met monthly for up to 1 hour. The groups managed their own scheduling, selection of meeting location, and topics for discussion, without influence or oversight from a pharmacy leader. The only specific requirement was that the topic of discussion focused on either professional development or was work related for at least half of the meeting time.

The investigators conducted a survey of the participants before the groups were formed and then again 6 months after. The survey results showed that various professional activities had different levels of current versus planned involvement, including research at 39% versus 61%; quality improvement at 55% versus 77%; teaching at 26% versus 55%; and finding mentorship at 16% versus 28%.

The percentage of pharmacists with a well-being index score greater than 3 from baseline to 6 months, which indicated a high potential risk of burnout, decreased by 22.8% for pilot participants and 10.7% for non-pilot participants. Additionally, the percentage of “I am satisfied with my job” respondents increased by 28.7% for those in the pilot and decreased by 17.9% for those not in the pilot.

The pilot began in February 2020 and ran through December 2020, with participants meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, there were 8 meetings between the 2 groups and 30 of the 32 respondents agreed that the pilot should be expanded departmentally.

The survey included questions about current and anticipated extracurricular and professional goals, well-being, job satisfaction, and feeling welcomed in the department. The follow-up also included questions related to perceived value of the pilot.

The investigators noted that additional studies would be needed to determine the influence of these small group meetings on symptoms of burnout, well-being, and retention.


Leung, J, Cunningham, J. (Management Case Study) Breaking Down Silos and Building Communities: A Pharmacy Engagement Group Pilot. ASHP Midyear 2021. Accessed December 6, 2021.

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