An in-depth examination into pharmacy technician worklife through an organizational behavior framework

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Abstract

Background:

Pharmacy technicians are a vital part of the health care workforce. Little is known about perceptions of their own work environment that would engender more effective recruitment, retention, and management strategies by pharmacists and employers.

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of certified pharmacy technician worklife. Specific objectives included the identification of themes of worklife phenomena to assist with the development of appropriate responses by other pharmacy stakeholders and to ascertain the contribution of various factors engendering or discouraging career commitment of pharmacy technicians.

Methods:

Semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out with a convenience sample of pharmacy technicians in one U.S. state, who varied by their work settings and level of experience. The interview guide and corresponding participant responses were framed from around an organizational cultural basis rooted in organizational behavior theory. Notes from the interviews were analyzed thematically using directed content analysis.

Results:

Four primary themes emerged, including: career impetus, job responsibilities, quality of work life, and equitable partnership. The data revealed pharmacy technicians' need for self-actualization and recognition of the value they bring to the organization. The participants identified primary responsibilities that contribute to their sense of worth and those that if not managed adequately potentially detract from their well-being and effectiveness. Findings in regard to rate of pay corroborate previous work on wages as both an intrinsic and extrinsic motivator. Pharmacy technicians seek equity among each other (their peers) and in a mutually beneficial relationship with their employing organization.

Conclusions:

This study provides the impetus for interventions and further study that should serve to enhance pharmacy technician effectiveness, quality of work life, and longevity in an emerging profession.

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