University of Tasmania
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Sustaining rural pharmacy workforce understanding key attributes for enhanced retention and recruitment

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:44 authored by Terry, D, Peck, B, Hills, D, Bishop, J, Mark KirschbaumMark Kirschbaum, Kehinde ObamiroKehinde Obamiro, Phan, H, Baker, E, Schmitz, D

Objective: To pilot the Pharmacist Community Apgar Questionnaire (PharmCAQ) and evaluate its usability and capacity to develop a greater understanding of the unique factors that impact the rural recruitment and retention of pharmacists.

Design: Cross-sectional design involving face-to-face, telephone or video conferencing interviews.

Setting: Twelve rural communities across Tasmania and Western Victoria, Australia.

Participants: Participants (n = 24) included pharmacists, a Director of Clinical Services, pharmacy practice managers and senior pharmacy assistants.

Main Outcome Measures: Interviews enabled the completion of the PharmCAQ, which assigns quantitative values to 50 key factors to ascertain a community's strengths and challenges associated with recruitment and retention and their relative importance to the pharmacist workforce.

Results: The cumulative PharmCAQ scores indicated the tool was sensitive enough to differentiate high- and low-performing communities. Overall, the highest-rated factors considered most vital to pharmacist recruitment and retention were the reputation of the pharmacy, the ability of the pharmacist to be independent and autonomous, the loyalty of the community to the pharmacy, the level and stability of monetary compensation and the breadth of tasks available to a pharmacist.

Conclusions: This study identified the strengths and challenges of participating communities and provided an insight into the shared factors to consider in recruiting and retaining pharmacists. Further, each community has unique strengths that can further be promoted in recruitment, flagging where limited resources are best used to address site specific challenges. This is more likely to ensure the matching of the right candidate with the right community.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Rural Health






School of Social Sciences


John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Rights statement

© 2022. The Authors. Australian Journal of Rural Health published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of National Rural Health Alliance Ltd. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Efficacy of medications; Health status (incl. wellbeing)

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