Changing status in health care: community and hospital pharmacists’ perceptions of pharmacy practice

Iben Altman, Philip Mandy, Paul Gard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study aimed to explore experienced community and hospital pharmacists’ perceptions of how their pharmacy practice and status in health care are affected by others’ views of them. Methods: A qualitative collective case study was conducted. The primary data were 20 in-depth semistructured interviews of community and hospital
pharmacists in England that were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Key findings: Thematic analysis of the data identified four themes: (1) ambiguities about being professionals, (2) internal divisions, (3) medicines experts and (4) shopkeepers as healthcare providers. Conclusions: Pharmacists want to be recognised as medicines experts in health care. They are aware that their status is assessed by the public based on their practice, which is dispensing of medicines, and that the public’s image of all pharmacists is that of ‘a typical community pharmacist’ working in a retail shop while having little experience of pharmacists in other healthcare settings. Pharmacists consider that the public does not view them as registered healthcare professionals. They mainly associate being registered professionals with being controlled from afar by their professional regulator, instead of utilising this as an enabling strategy to support their reprofessionalisation efforts. Pharmacists remain the hidden healthcare profession and need to act in practice as healthcare professionals, so the public is aware of their place and contributions in health care to maintain or enhance their status. Internal divisions between community and hospital pharmacists appear to be due to differences in practice, knowledge and aspirations having the potential to adversely affect the pharmacy profession’s status.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Altman, I. L., Mandy, P. J. and Gard, P. R. (2019), Changing status in health care: community and hospital pharmacists’ perceptions of pharmacy practice. Int J Pharm Pract. doi:10.1111/ijpp.12505, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


  • community pharmacists
  • hospital pharmacists
  • intraprofessional divisions
  • pharmacy practice
  • status


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