Self-efficacy in counseling in Norwegian chain pharmacies: A cross-sectional study

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After pharmacy reform in Norway in 2001, pharmacy chains have systematically trained their personnel in advising self-medication of some symptoms and diseases to increase their competence. It may be important to reveal factors at work that increase self-efficacy in counseling as part of enhancing good pharmacy practice.


The aims of this study were to investigate (1) self-efficacy in counseling among pharmacy personnel in respect to a range of medical complaints, and (2) the relationship between self-efficacy in counseling and pharmacy staff's education, age, years of work in pharmacy and psychosocial factors.


A web-based questionnaire about self-efficacy in counseling, psychosocial factors, and demographic variables was completed by 693 individuals from 299 randomly selected community chain pharmacies in Norway. Multiple regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between self-efficacy and gender, age, years of work in pharmacy, and psychosocial factors.


On a scale from 0 (very difficult) to 10 (no problem), the mean score for self-efficacy on all 21 symptoms or needs was 7.2 (SD = 1.3). Allergy, flu, and headache received the highest self-efficacy scores and leg ulcer treatment, self-test kits, and tiredness received the lowest scores. Significant associations between self-efficacy in counseling and years of work in pharmacy (P = .017), role clarity (P < .001), positive challenges at work (P = .002), and role conflict (P < .001) were observed.


Self-efficacy in counseling among pharmacy personnel seems to be high for providing advice for symptoms where over-the-counter medicines are available. Role clarity, positive challenge, and years of work in pharmacy are associated positively with self-efficacy in counseling, whereas role conflict is associated negatively. Future research may examine implications for self-efficacy in actual behavior and patient outcomes.

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