What makes pharmacists successful? An investigation of personal characteristics

Published:September 11, 2018DOI:



      The primary objective of this study was to identify characteristics of pharmacists that contribute to their success.


      A working definition of success in pharmacy practice was derived from a scoping literature review and is based on the premise that successful pharmacists practice to full scope within the context of their practice setting. Semistructured individual interviews were conducted with selected pharmacists. Potential candidates were nominated by leading pharmacists in the field with the use of our prespecified definition of success. Lists from the nominators were compared, and pharmacists who appeared on more than 1 list were invited to participate. The interview tool was developed with the use of previous research on success in health care professions.

      Setting and participants

      Participants were 10 practicing pharmacists in a variety of locations (5 urban/5 rural) and practice settings (5 hospital/4 community/1 ambulatory care).

      Outcome measures

      Themes related to successful pharmacists practicing to full scope.


      Pharmacists meeting our definition of success were engaged in assessment and care planning, other expanded scope activities, and interpersonal activities and collaboration. The 10 interviewed pharmacists described motivation, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, core competencies, and work-life balance as significant contributors to their success.


      Several characteristics were identified as potentially related to success. These characteristics may be useful in pharmacists identifying areas for personal growth and development.
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      Adam Ward, BSc, PharmD student, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB


      Jill Hall, BScPharm, PharmD, Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB


      Jay Mutch, BScPharm, Clinical Pharmacist, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB; at time of study: pharmacy student, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB


      Lydia Cheung, BScPharm, Clinical Pharmacist, Covenant Health, Edmonton, AB; at time of study: pharmacy student, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB


      Matthew Ken Cor, BEng, MSc, PhD, Assistant Dean, Assessment, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB


      Theresa L. Charrois, BScPharm, MSc, Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB