Pharmacist's identity development within multidisciplinary primary health care teams in Ontario; qualitative results from the IMPACT (†) project
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BACKGROUND: Multidisciplinary team development generates changes in roles, responsibilities, and identities of individual health care providers. The Integrating Family Medicine and Pharmacy to Advance Primary Care Therapeutics (IMPACT) project introduced pharmacists into family practice teams across Ontario, Canada, to provide medication assessments, drug information, and academic detailing and to develop office system enhancements to improve drug therapy. OBJECTIVE: To analyze pharmacists' narrative accounts during early integration to study identity development within emerging team-based care. METHOD: Qualitative design using 63 pharmacist narrative reports of pharmacists' experiences over a 9-month integration period. Four independent researchers with varied professional backgrounds used immersion and crystallization to identify codes and iterative grounded theory to determine and debate process and content themes relevant to identity development. RESULTS: The pharmacists' narratives spoke of the daily experiences of integrating into a family practice setting: feeling valued and contributing concretely to patient care; feeling underutilized; feeling like a nuisance, or feeling as though working too slowly. Pharmacist mentors helped deal with uncertainty and complexity of care. Pharmacists perceived that complementary clinical contributions enhanced their status with physicians and motivated pharmacists to take on new responsibilities. Changes in perspective, clinic-relevant skill development, and a new sense of professionalism signaled an emerging pharmacist family practice identity. CONCLUSION: Pharmacists found that the integration into team-based primary health care provided both challenges and fresh opportunities. Pharmacists' professional identities evolved in relation to valued role models, emerging practice-level opportunities, and their patient-related contributions.
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