The rural pharmacy practice landscape: challenges and motivators

Hays, Catherine A., Taylor, Selina M., and Glass, Beverley D. (2020) The rural pharmacy practice landscape: challenges and motivators. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 13. pp. 227-234.

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Background: Health outcome delivery for rural and remote Australian communities is challenged by the maldistribution of the pharmacy workforce. High staff turnover rates, reduced pharmacist numbers, and reliance on temporary staff have placed great strain on both state health services and rural community pharmacies. However, recent changes to the demographic profile of the rural pharmacist including a lower average age and increased time spent in rural practice highlights a more positive future for the delivery of better health outcomes for rural communities. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that motivate and challenge pharmacists' choice to practice rurally.

Methods: Rural pharmacists were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews using purposive non-probability sampling. Twelve pharmacists were interviewed with early-, middle- and late-career pharmacists represented. Participants described their experiences of working and living in rural and remote locations. Three themes emerged: workforce, practice environment and social factors, which were examined to determine the underlying challenges and motivators impacting rural and remote pharmacy practice.

Results: Lack of staff presented a workforce challenge, while motivators included potential for expanded scope of practice and working as part of a multidisciplinary team. While social isolation has often been presented as a challenge, an emerging theme highlighted that this may no longer be true, and that notions of "rural and remote communities as socially isolated was a stigma that needed to be stopped".

Conclusion: This study highlights that despite the challenges rural pharmacists face, there is a shift happening that could deliver better health outcomes for isolated communities. However, for this to gain momentum, it is important to examine both the challenges and motivators of rural pharmacy practice to provide a platform for the development and implementation of appropriate frameworks and programs to better support the rural pharmacy workforce.

Item ID: 62709
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1178-2390
Keywords: pharmacy, workforce, rural and remote, health outcomes
Copyright Information: © 2020 Hays et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution–Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2020 07:36
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3214 Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences > 321499 Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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