The impact of automation on pharmacy staff experience of workplace stressors

K. Lynette James, D. Barlow, A. Bithell, S. Hiom, S. Lord, P. Oakley, M. Pollard, D. Roberts, C. Way, C. Whittlesea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Determine the effect of installing an original pack automated dispensing system (ADS) on staff experience of occupational stressors.

Methods: Pharmacy staff in a National Health Service hospital in Wales, UK, were administered an anonymous occupational stressor questionnaire pre- (n = 45) and post-automation (n = 32). Survey responses pre- and post-automation were compared using Mann-Whitney U test. Statistical significance was P ≤ 0.05. Four focus groups were conducted (two groups of accredited checking technicians (ACTs) (group 1: n = 4; group 2: n = 6), one group of pharmacists (n = 17), and one group of technicians (n = 4) post-automation to explore staff experiences of occupational stressors. Focus group transcripts were analysed according to framework analysis.

Key findings: Survey response rate pre-automation was 78% (n = 35) and 49% (n = 16) post-automation. Automation had a positive impact on staff experience of stress (P = 0.023), illogical workload allocation (P = 0.004) and work-life balance (P = 0.05). All focus-group participants reported that automation had created a spacious working environment. Pharmacists and ACTs reported that automation had enabled the expansion of their roles. Technicians felt like 'production-line workers.' Robot malfunction was a source of stress.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that automation had a positive impact on staff experience of stressors, improving working conditions and workload. Technicians reported that ADS devalued their skills. When installing ADS, pharmacy managers must consider the impact of automation on staff. Strategies to reduce stressors associated with automation include rotating staff activities and role expansions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Volume21
Issue number2
Early online date5 Aug 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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Automation
Workplace
Focus Groups
Workload
Pharmacists
Wales
National Health Programs
Nonparametric Statistics
Managers
Health
Robots

Cite this

James, K. L., Barlow, D., Bithell, A., Hiom, S., Lord, S., Oakley, P., ... Whittlesea, C. (2013). The impact of automation on pharmacy staff experience of workplace stressors. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 21(2), 105-116. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7174.2012.00231.x

The impact of automation on pharmacy staff experience of workplace stressors. / James, K. Lynette; Barlow, D.; Bithell, A.; Hiom, S.; Lord, S.; Oakley, P.; Pollard, M.; Roberts, D.; Way, C.; Whittlesea, C.

In: International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, Vol. 21, No. 2, 04.2013, p. 105-116.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

James, KL, Barlow, D, Bithell, A, Hiom, S, Lord, S, Oakley, P, Pollard, M, Roberts, D, Way, C & Whittlesea, C 2013, 'The impact of automation on pharmacy staff experience of workplace stressors', International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 105-116. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7174.2012.00231.x
James, K. Lynette ; Barlow, D. ; Bithell, A. ; Hiom, S. ; Lord, S. ; Oakley, P. ; Pollard, M. ; Roberts, D. ; Way, C. ; Whittlesea, C. / The impact of automation on pharmacy staff experience of workplace stressors. In: International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2013 ; Vol. 21, No. 2. pp. 105-116.
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