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Tertiary Hospital Pharmacists’ Challenges Case Study

Literature Review

Theoretical perspective

Several leadership and organizational management theories highlight the significance of proper supervision and the creation of an ideal work environment for the employees’ optimal performance. For instance, the Fiedler contingency model describes a leader’s ability based on the contingency of the situation. There are two kinds of leaders, according to this theory. The first is leaders that develop a good relationship with their people to deliver a task. The second are leaders that are only oriented towards the task at hand. They make the accomplishment of the task as their primary aim and take all the steps towards the achievement of this goal (Aamir, 2008).

Huczynski (2012) notes that “what valence a certain object or activity and partly upon the needs is the state of the person at that time” (Huczynski, 2012, p. 273). This means that the level of employee motivation in an organization may be related to the income and position held. For instance, subordinates at the base of the functionality pyramid may exhibit low levels of motivation in performance compared to the employees at the top of the hierarchical ladder.

Therefore, to create an ideal environment for optimal motivation, there is a need to roll out programs that are holistic, friendly, and soft to employee valence. Besides, the work environment should integrate healthy and sustainable ethical decision culture to create an ideal behavior modeling and social control structure for organization leadership sustainability (Weinberg & McDemott, 2011). Other notable elements of the valence theory are a clear definition of engagement rules, organization behavior code, and strategies for addressing any deviation to ensure that all stakeholders are keen on the sustainability of the labor force.

Factors that impact service delivery in a healthcare environment

Reflecting on Lewin’s three-step theory, the unfreezing, transformation, and refreezing determine the level of performance in an organization. According to this theory, the first step involves the realization that a challenge exists in the organization. The second step involves the transformation of this challenge into a development goal, after which the implementation step concludes by developing a solution for the challenge (Montana & Bruce, 2008).

The best way to motivate employees is to ensure that the work environment is ideal for performing their roles. For instance, a healthcare facility might hire more staff or open more service points to ensure that employees are not overworked (Huczynski, 2012). Through this approach, employees will be empowered since they will feel trusted and valued by the management personnel and the hospital.

As opined by Maslow, in the hierarchy of needs theory, “primary needs are basic before tertiary needs and must be addressed in that order” (Bloom & Reenen, 2010, p. 36). The needs include safety, physical needs, love, self-esteem, and room for actualization. For instance, automation and availability of medication should be constantly reviewed to create a friendly work environment by balancing the efficiency goals and concerns of the users.

Job satisfaction is a result of a systematic, continuous environmental and personality interaction that fosters the right attitude. In the case of a healthcare institution department, social and highly skilled personnel should be allocated the right duties in a friendly environment. When assigning duties, personality checks are necessary to promote self-satisfaction while at the same time improve performance. Also, periodic self-evaluation and interdepartmental rotation ensure a change of environment (Andreadis, 2009). Over time, the results will be reliable, effective, and profitable to the department.

Factors that create an ideal work environment

According to Andreadis (2009), a series of desirable attributes of management are instrumental in controlling behavior, and the way employees perceive job satisfaction and an ideal work environment. In most cases, these attributes are internalized in the management plans, different performance tests, and policies that address the efficiency and productivity of employees in an organization. Therefore, for a leader in a management position to guarantee a balance between the lower and higher valence, there is a need to be calm, proactive, and dynamic to the politics or culture of an organization to guarantee complete staff cooperation (Weinberg & McDemott, 2011).

The ability to balance these dynamics has the potential of creating an ideal work environment where employees are accommodative of different policies and flexible to embrace changes without affecting their performance. This environment can be created in healthcare institutions by ensuring that factors such as availability of medicine, automation, and waiting time are addressed to avoid inconveniencing or increasing work pressure to the pharmacists and other medical personnel.

From the literature review, it is apparent that factors such as leadership/supervision strategy, workload, job security, and staff cooperation impact employee motivation and performance in the workplace. Therefore, there is a need to focus on the challenges that pharmacists face in their line of duty and relate these shortfalls to inadequacy in factors such as supervision strategy, workload, job security, and staff cooperation.

Methodology and Findings

The research was carried out through a primary survey. The survey involved direct interviews with pharmacists to establish the challenges they face in their line of duty. The researcher carried out one on one interview with the respondents who are pharmacists within the Gulf region. The findings indicated that automation, waiting time, and medication availability were the primary challenges that made their job difficult and stressful. The findings are discussed below.

Analysis of the Challenges Identified

Availability of Medications

The first challenge identified by the respondents as an impediment to their role as pharmacists is inadequate medication stock when serving customers. For instance, one of the respondents noted that sometimes when the patients come to the pharmacy, as an endpoint of a long journey in the hospital to take their medications after waiting for a while, they are informed that their medication is out of stock. The pharmacy is not sure when it will be available.

Specifically, one of the respondents alleged that “this situation is repeated every couple of months and lasts for several weeks. I’m not sure if the problem is from the logistics or the main supplier, but this is one of the most annoying situations that we have here.” Being in this position is a haunting experience to the pharmacists since they have to absorb the anger from patients, despite having very little to do with the hospital running out of medication stock. In most cases, the pharmacists must endure insult and sometimes physical attacks by irate patients who cannot get their prescription orders.

Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior encompasses the elements of subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, intension, and behavior (Aamir, 2008). It is important to promote positive personalities among the employees in the pharmacy department. Thus, management may promote productive behavior in the organization. The intension of productive behavior is to micromanage any challenges that might interfere with employees’ productivity when interacting with aggressive or angry patients (Huczynski, 2012). This strategy should be supported by creating a system for tracking the flow of medication stock and restocking on time before any medicine runs out.

Waiting time

The second challenge identified by the respondents is waiting time in service delivery. In the Gulf region, the government hospitals are always full to the capacity due to affordable care and relatively high-quality services. Besides, these hospitals receive many cases of patient transfer from private healthcare institutions. The increase in patient numbers has resulted in heightened pressure on the pharmacists who have to serve all the patients in a queue, irrespective of the time or duration of service.

The high number might compromise the quality of services. For instance, a respondent expressed his frustrations by alleging that, “I think that the number of patients is increasing yearly to the extent that we cannot control the waiting time of the patient which sometimes reaches one hour.” The situation is worsened by complexity in some prescriptions, which might take more than thirty minutes to address per patient. Besides, the respondents indicated that they had to skip or rush patient counseling time to reduce the waiting time at the expense of quality service delivery.

There is a need for the hospital to create a dynamic system functioning approach towards serving clients to create an environment of proportional service delivery. Creating an environment where valence is balanced between management strategies and employees can be defined as stable and accommodating to the subordinates. Such an environment is ideal for developing patient-staff interaction space since it is flexible to elucidate the organization’s values and norms while respecting and encouraging proactive employee engagement with the patients.

This environment is achievable through creating universal shared values of the organization as part of the employee culture and work orientation (Montana & Bruce, 2008). In the end, the pharmacists will develop special interaction skills to cope up with the work pressure. The organization might also consider increasing the number of service points and pharmacists to reduce work pressure due to the increased number of patients.


Despite the benefits of automation in serving patients at a pharmacy such as quick services, organized records, and easy to follow prescription forms, the respondents indicated that it comes with its challenges that affect their productivity. For instance, a respondent, who is senior pharmacist, stated that “sometimes automation might be an obstacle rather than a solution especially when the system or the machine is down we have to wait for like 20 minutes until the automation pharmacist declare that the system is down so we can process manually”. Besides, the respondents indicated that instances where a product has no barcode, there is always system error and wrong dispensing of medicine due to the override of the barcode printing command.

There is a need to establish universal values in the pharmacy department. It is critical to balance the feedback with the efficiency goals as a remedy towards inclusiveness and active participation, which translates into desirable performance.

Through focus performance management, the pharmacy department will be in a position to create clear goals on performance appraisal, manage a positive feedback channel, and offer a continuous and systematic tracking of the automation system to ensure that employees perform at optimal productivity level, without any interference as a result of system failure (Weinberg & McDermott, 2011). This strategy is likely to reduce the stress level of the pharmacists and catalyze optimal performance.


Aamir, C. (2008). Impact of job involvement on ‘In-Role performance’ and organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of behavior and applied management, 9(2), 3-8. Web.

Andreadis, N. (2009). Learning and organizational effectiveness: A systems perspective Performance. Improvement, 48(1), 5-11. Web.

Bloom, N., & Reenen, J. (2010). Why do management practices differ across firms and countries? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(1), 203-334. Web.

Huczynski, A. (2012). Management gurus. Alabama, Al: Routledge. Web.

Montana, P., & Bruce, H. (2008). Management. New York, NY: Barron’s Educational Series. Web.

Weinberg, R., & McDermott, M. (2011). A comparative analysis of sport and business organizations: Factors perceived critical for organizational success. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14(4), 282-298. Web.

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"Tertiary Hospital Pharmacists' Challenges." IvyPanda, 16 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/tertiary-hospital-pharmacists-challenges/.

1. IvyPanda. "Tertiary Hospital Pharmacists' Challenges." July 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/tertiary-hospital-pharmacists-challenges/.


IvyPanda. "Tertiary Hospital Pharmacists' Challenges." July 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/tertiary-hospital-pharmacists-challenges/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Tertiary Hospital Pharmacists' Challenges." July 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/tertiary-hospital-pharmacists-challenges/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Tertiary Hospital Pharmacists' Challenges'. 16 July.

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