How pharmacists perceive their professional identity: a scoping review and discursive analysis

Jamie Kellar*, Lachmi Singh, Glyneva Bradley-Ridout, Maria Athina Martimianakis, Cees P M van der Vleuten, Mirjam G A Oude Egbrink, Zubin Austin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)
171 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this scoping review were to (a) explore how pharmacists perceive their professional roles and identities and (b) describe factors impacting which professional roles or identities pharmacists embody in different pharmacy practice settings.

METHODS: A scoping review using a deductive approach was undertaken for this study. Systematic searches were conducted in five databases: Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE, Ovid PsycINFO, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health and Scopus (Elsevier). Key words searched included pharmacist, identity, professional role and one variations of these. Results were double-blind screened for relevance by two authors. Data extraction was facilitated by the web-based software platform COVIDENCE. Foucauldian critical discourse analysis was used to deconstruct how pharmacists perceive their professional roles and identities.

KEY FINDINGS: In total, 21 701 articles were retrieved in the search. Following de-duplication and screening, 23 studies from 11 different countries were included. Five major identity themes were identified: Clinician, Dispenser, Business Person, Patient Counsellor and Physician Supporter. The dispenser identity was the most widespread, but it was viewed by many pharmacists as undesirable. The clinician identity also had a strong presence but was viewed as an identity that pharmacists aspire to embody.

CONCLUSIONS: This scoping review illustrates that pharmacists do not uniformly perceive themselves to be clinicians. A significant gap exists between the profession's desired identity and that embodied by practicing pharmacists. The resulting dissonance may be a contributing factor to the lack of wide-scale practice change that the profession has been seeking for decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2021


  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Services
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians
  • Professional Role
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • professional role
  • pharmacists
  • professional identity

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