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6/27/2002
Press Release

Workplace Environment Major Factor in Pharmacist Recruitment and Retention

Offering flexible scheduling to meet special needs and providing incentives to work non-preferred shifts are two tactics pharmacy directors are using to combat the continuing shortage of pharmacists in hospitals and health systems, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The survey examined 20 different factors that influence personnel retention, including salaries, physical environment, lifestyle considerations, and professional practice. Hospitals that provided benefits such as offering flexible scheduling, job-adequate references and electronic information sources, and collaborative relationships with other health professionals reported a statistically lower pharmacist vacancy rate.

"The survey findings confirm what our members have been telling us—the pharmacist shortage is a continuing struggle," said Douglas J. Scheckelhoff, M.S., FASHP, Director, ASHP Practice Management and Leadership Division. "The results also provide pharmacy directors with a blueprint for designing a workplace environment that can help attract and retain pharmacists."

Pharmacy directors at 548 hospitals and health systems throughout the United States answered questions about vacancy levels, available positions, and the supply of qualified pharmacists. The survey also gauged whether the hospital and health-system settings had an impact on the ability to recruit pharmacists. Forty-four percent of the respondents reported that vacancies exist at their institutions, down from 50 percent in 2000. The overall vacancy rate was 6.9 percent.

ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication-error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. For more information, visit www.ashp.org or www.safemedication.com.