WASHINGTON, DC— Today the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) released the sixth installment of the Pharmacy Workplace and Well-being Reporting (PWWR) trends and learnings report series.1
Launched in October 2021, PWWR serves as a safe space to submit both positive and negative pharmacy workplace experiences in a confidential and anonymous manner. The goal of PWWR is to tell the stories of those who submit their experiences so that the profession may begin to act on the findings and learnings.
To date, more than 1,400 reports have been submitted to PWWR from pharmacy supervisors to pharmacy support personnel in nearly every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The learnings from this cycle’s analysis provide a roadmap for pharmacy personnel, employers, and the profession at large to address patient/consumer harassment concerns and barriers to staff–management communication and to celebrate positive experiences in preventing medication errors and safety by design.
"I am greatly encouraged by everyone who has continued to make use of the PWWR tool. It is critical that folks come forward and share their experiences. APhA continues our commitment in partnering to make improvements necessary to allow pharmacists to thrive in the workplace and provide optimal patient care," said Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP, APhA executive vice president and CEO.
In this reporting cycle (April–June 2023), 85 reports were received. Positive experiences that were reported ranged from working with a patient to help him understand how to use a new medical device to navigating medication payment coverage when moving from a jail to a rehabilitation facility. Those who submitted positive experiences indicated that those experiences would have a long-term effect on their well-being.
While workplace conditions continue to be one of the primary reasons cited in the experience reports submitted to PWWR, harassment from patients/caregivers and the lack of open staff–supervisor communication channels is real and continues to be reported this cycle. Additional often-cited reasons for negative experiences submitted in this reporting cycle included lack of appropriate staffing, scheduling, volume/workload expectations mismatched to hours available, and metrics.
There are two primary learnings again this quarter. The first is that training is needed to enhance pharmacy staff knowledge on how to de-escalate or “walk away” from abusive/aggressive patient situations. The second is the importance of nonpharmacy management training on supporting pharmacy staff when faced with harassment from patients/consumers.
There is a continuing concern about the lack of open and honest channels of communication. Of those who submitted negative experiences, 66% indicated that they offered recommendations to management. Of those who reported, 92% indicated that their recommendations were not considered or applied, causing them to feel ignored and unvalued. Thirty-four percent did not offer recommendations tracking with previous reporting periods. They don’t report due to fear of retaliation, they believe there is no local control and that their supervisor is unwilling to listen, and they don’t believe it matters because no one cares. A new reason cited in this reporting cycle was “gaslighting” by a supervisor.
These deidentified reports submitted this quarter speak to the difficulties practicing in today’s pharmacies. The experiences submitted describe a picture of an entire broken system–a powerful story that we hope will spark needed change and improvement in the pharmacy workplace.
“The PWWR tool continues to serve as a sounding board for those pharmacy staff members who feel they have no other place to share their workplace concerns and frustrations. The issues raised are not new, yet many are seemingly ignored. We must do better to address these unacceptable conditions,” said NASPA President Elise M. Barry, MS, CFRE.
PWWR is an ongoing online confidential and anonymous service for pharmacy personnel to report positive and negative experiences across all pharmacy practices. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists are encouraged to submit positive and negative experience reports as often as they would like. In-depth analysis reports with trends and learnings will be periodically issued. A short snapshot of submissions will be issued each month. To submit an experience and read the full PWWR Reports, visit www.pharmacist.com/pwwr.
The Alliance for Patient Medication Safety, a federally listed patient safety organization (PSO), analyzes the reports submitted to PWWR. Reports are protected by the confidentiality and privilege provisions of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. Actual submission reports to PWWR cannot be disclosed or subpoenaed and are not subject to discovery in a legal proceeding.
- PWWR Reports I, II, III, IV, V and monthly snapshot reports can be found at www.pharmacist.com/pwwr.
APhA is the only organization advancing the entire pharmacy profession. Our expert staff and strong volunteer leadership, including many experienced pharmacists, allow us to deliver vital leadership to help pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians find success and satisfaction in their work and advocate for changes that benefit them, their patients, and their communities. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.
NASPA, founded in 1927 as the National Council of State Pharmacy Association Executives, is dedicated to enhancing the success of state pharmacy associations in their efforts to advance the profession of pharmacy. NASPA’s membership is comprised of state pharmacy associations and over 70 other stakeholder organizations. NASPA promotes leadership, sharing, learning, and policy exchange among its members and pharmacy leaders nationwide.