Exploring the experiences and preparedness of humanitarian pharmacists in responding to an emergency-response situation
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Background: Pharmacists are more frequently being deployed along with other members of the multi-disciplinary team in order to provide humanitarian aid. This team will need to work collaboratively to overcome challenges such as constraints in access to medication, medical supplies and medical records.Recent literature reports on the role of the pharmacist across all facets of care continuing to evolve into clinical areas to support patient care. To date there is a deficiency in description and understanding of the preparedness and contribution of pharmacists within a humanitarian capacity. Objective: This study aims to investigate the preparedness of pharmacists working in the humanitarian field and to explore pharmacists’ experiences including the challenges they face in an emergency response situation. Methods: An interview topic guide was developed and informed by a review of the literature and one-to-one in-depth semi-structured telephonic interviews were conducted with pharmacists involved in the humanitarian field based in England. Interviews were audio recorded and were transcribed verbatim. A member of the research team conducted the data analysis (FS) consistent with the Braun and Clarke approach, the authors (ZN and HN) provided advice and input throughout the analysis process. Results: Twelve pharmacists participated in this study, nine of whom had deployment experience; interviews took place between October 2017 and April 2018. Data analysis identified four descriptive themes (training and preparation; skills required; challenges/barriers; professional development) and numerous sub-themes. Conclusions: This study resonates with research investigating experiences of other healthcare professionals, which report the need for more tailored and appropriate training to improve preparedness for deployment. Pharmacists also suggest specific skills and knowledge facilitate adaptability and innovate working which areas of humanitarian need require. The pharmacists did not report any psychological burden or trauma from their experiences in emergency response, which requires further study to ensure this aspect of preparation, debriefing and support is not neglected.
- Pharmacy Research [348 items ]