Use of professional practice guidance resources in pharmacy: a cross-sectional nationwide survey of pharmacists, intern pharmacists, and pharmacy students

Deanna Mill, Jacinta L. Johnson, Kenneth Lee, Sandra M. Salter, Danielle D’Lima, Liza Seubert, Rhonda Clifford, Amy T. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Variations in practice are commonplace in healthcare where health professionals, such as pharmacists act as autonomous practitioners. This is evident in simulated patient studies, where pharmacists practice does not meet widely accepted standards for medicines supply or treatment of an ailment. To promote best pharmacy practice a myriad of guidance resources including practice guidelines, codes and standards are produced by professional organisations. These resources provide a framework for pharmacy practice and endeavour to facilitate consistency in provision of pharmacy-based services to consumers. Despite their role in specifying essential pharmacist behaviours, there is limited research exploring if and how these resources are used in practice. Objective: To characterise Australian pharmacists’ use of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Code of Ethics, Professional Practice Guidelines and Professional Practice Standards. Methods: A cross-sectional, self-administered, electronic survey of registered pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students living in Australia was conducted in July 2020. Questions considered use of professional practice resources (by resource group) in the preceding 12 months. Data were analysed descriptively. Results: Of 601 responses included in the analysis 462 (76.9%) of respondents were registered pharmacists, 88 (14.6%) pharmacy students and 51 (8.5%) intern pharmacists. Interns and students accessed overarching practice resources, such as the Professional Practice Standards, Code of Ethics and Dispensing Practice Guidelines more frequently than practising pharmacists. Pharmacists accessed professional practice guidelines, such as Practice Guidelines for the Provision of Immunisation Services Within Pharmacy, more often than students. More pharmacists than interns and students indicated that they would access guidelines to resolve practice and patient care issues. All resources except the Professional Practice Standards for Pharmacists (67.4%) were accessed by less than 50% of respondents in the preceding 12-month period. Reasons for not accessing resources varied between participant and resource groups, and generally were due to a lack of awareness of the resource or not considering them necessary for the individual’s practice. Conclusion(s): Access and use patterns for professional practice guidance resources change with experience. Professional organisations responsible for developing resources should consider these patterns when designing and reviewing resources and related policies. To ensure resources are meeting the needs of the profession, students, interns, and pharmacists should be involved in the review of and design of further resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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