What role do pharmacists play in mediating antibiotic use in hospitals? A qualitative study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMJ open, 2015, 5 (11), pp. e008326 - ?
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Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/ OBJECTIVE: To understand Australian hospital pharmacists' accounts of antibiotic use, and the potential role of pharmacy in antibiotic optimisation within a tertiary hospital setting.DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Qualitative study, utilising semistructured interviews with 19 pharmacists in two hospitals in Queensland, Australia in 2014. Data was analysed using the framework approach and supported by NVivo10 qualitative data analysis software.RESULTS: The results demonstrate that (1) pharmacists' attitudes are ambivalent towards the significance of antibiotic resistance with optimising antibiotic use perceived as low priority; (2) pharmacists' current capacity to influence antibiotic decision-making is limited by the prescribing power of doctors and the perception of antibiotic use as a medical responsibility; and, (3) interprofessional and organisational barriers exist that prevent change in the hospital setting including medical hierarchies, limited contact with senior doctors and resource constraints resulting in insufficient pharmacy staffing to foster collaborative relationships and facilitate the uptake of their advice.DISCUSSION: While pharmacy is playing an increasingly important role in enhanced antibiotic governance and is a vital component of antimicrobial stewardship in Australia, role-based limitations, interprofessional dynamics and organisational/resource constraints in hospitals, if not urgently addressed, will continue to significantly limit the ability of pharmacy to influence antibiotic prescribing.
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