Women gain ground in pharmacy profession


Last year, more women than men were practicing pharmacy or working in pharmacy-related careers. And there were more women managers than ever before.

Female pharmacists have fared well in the pharmacy profession.

Last year more women were practicing pharmacy or working in a pharmacy-related career than their male counterparts, 83.9% versus 65.2%, respectively. And there were more women in managerial positions than ever before-approximately 29% women and 30% men, according to the results of the 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey, released April 8, by the Pharmacy Workforce Center, Inc.

See also: Rising stars: Three women entrepreneurs share their paths to pharmacy success

“So pretty much the gap [of female versus male] has closed on management roles,” explained Eden Sulzer, director of Women in Pharmacy program at Cardinal Health.

What has contributed to that?

“It has been quite a bit of time now that women have been in the majority in pharmacy schools. Women have entered the workforce and worked their way up,” Sulzer said. “It has been a progression and now women are more often working full-time.”

The trend had been that women were working part-time in many cases, but that has changed. Women now work almost as many hours as their male pharmacy colleagues. “This [trend] positions women for managerial roles,” Sulzer told Drug Topics.

“Women have gotten through pharmacy school, been working full-time for at least 10 years, and they have ascended into those management roles across all pharmacy settings,” she noted.

Heavy workloads

Workload levels were rated similarly by women and men. The majority of pharmacists who work in chain drug stores (80%) or mass merchandiser pharmacy settings (76%) rated their workloads as high or extremely high last year.

“Of note is that 45% of pharmacists in 2014 reported that current workload had negative or very negative effects on mental/emotional health,” the workforce survey stated. “In addition, in 2014, 2009 and 2004, a larger proportion of males and females reported their current level of workload had a negative or very negative effect on pharmacist- and patient-care-related issues relative to job-related issues (job performance, motivation to work at their pharmacy, and job satisfaction).”

A larger proportion of staff pharmacists working in traditional community pharmacy practice settings in 2014, in general, had a negative or very negative view of their workloads compared to pharmacists in management positions. Staff pharmacists in retail pharmacy from 2004 to 2014 indicated that they didn’t have enough time to spend with patients nor opportunities for adequate breaks during their shifts.

See also: Women in pharmacy: Leadership roles grow through self-advocacy, mentorship, and support


Quality of home-work balance

High levels of home-work conflict were documented by more than 50% of the pharmacists in traditional community pharmacy settings, independent pharmacy owners/partners, and hospital pharmacies. However, males rated greater job satisfaction and having a higher level of control in their work environment than females, the survey indicated.

“Home-work conflict is about the same among females and males,” explained Lynette R. Bradley-Baker, vice president of public affairs and engagement, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. “As far as higher levels of job satisfaction [among males] is an area that could be looked into a little deeper.”

Obviously, if one feels that he or she has more control in the work environment, it is understandable that one would have higher job satisfaction, Bradley-Baker noted.

“Pharmacy schools prepare students to be change agents. They prepare them to go into their work environment, not only ready to work, but to look for ways to enhance the services and the work culture.

“It would be interesting to see if there is a gap between older males and older females and younger males versus younger females,” she noted.

Lack of independent female pharmacy owners

Independent pharmacy is still a male-dominated area in the pharmacy profession. According to the workforce survey, approximately 2.4% of women were owners or partners in independent pharmacy.

Possible reasons for this include financial barriers, lack of business/financial acumen, and lack of confidence in ability to secure financing, according to Sulzer.

“What we do in the Women in Pharmacy program [at Cardinal Health], we try to demystify the process of getting financing,” said Sulzer.

With help from Live Oak Bank and other financial institutions, the Women in Pharmacy program helps assist women with the financial acumen to secure the resources to purchase a pharmacy. The program is useful in simplifying the process and providing options for potential owners.

“We offer Pharmacy Finance 101-explaining a balance sheet, an income statement, ways to make money, and what is involved,” she said. “We address these issues in our boot camps.”

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