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A mixed methods investigation into the use of non-technical skills by community and hospital pharmacists.

Irwin, A.; Weidmann, A.E.


A. Irwin

A.E. Weidmann


Background: Non-technical skills refer to the social and cognitive factors that may influence efficient and safe job performance. Non-technical skills are an important element of patient safety in a variety of health care disciplines, including surgery, anesthesia and nursing. However, the use of non-technical skills in pharmacy practice has not yet been fully assessed. Objective: To examine attitudes toward, and use of, non-technical skills by pharmacy personnel. Methods: A mixed methods approach was used: An attitude survey explored pharmacy personnel attitudes towards non-technical skills and inter-professional collaboration, with community and hospital pharmacy staff (. n = 62). Qualitative interviews were then conducted using the critical incident technique, with community pharmacists (. n = 11). Results: The survey results demonstrated differences in the opinions of community and hospital pharmacists on three non-technical skill constructs: team structure, mutual support, and situation monitoring, with community pharmacists reporting significantly more positive attitudes about all three constructs. Both groups reported low levels of collaboration with primary care physicians. The interviews identified five non-technical skills as key elements of successful pharmacist performance from the interview transcripts: teamwork; leadership; task management; situation awareness; decision-making. Conclusion: The survey and interviews identified the non-technical skills that are important to pharmacists. This represents the first step towards the development of a behavioral rating system for training purposes that could potentially improve the non-technical skills of pharmacists and enhance patient safety.


IRWIN, A. and WEIDMANN, A. 2015. A mixed methods investigation into the use of non-technical skills by community and hospital pharmacists. Research in social and administrative pharmacy [online], 11(5), pages 675-685. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 17, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2014
Publication Date Oct 31, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2015
Publicly Available Date Dec 18, 2015
Journal Research in social and administrative pharmacy
Print ISSN 1551-7411
Electronic ISSN 1934-8150
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 5
Pages 675-685
Keywords Nontechnical skills; Pharmacy; Situation awareness; Leadership; Teamwork
Public URL


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