The development of a role description and competency map for pharmacists in an interprofessional care setting

  • Helen BensonEmail author
  • Cherie Lucas
  • Shalom I. Benrimoj
  • Kylie A. Williams
Review Article


Background Pharmacists are increasingly being included as members of general practice primary care teams. To date, there have been few published studies describing the competencies of general practice (GP) pharmacists and establishing their subsequent educational needs. Aim of the review The aim of this literature review is to establish the activities of pharmacists in general practice to inform the development of a comprehensive role description and competency map. Method A systematic literature search of EMBASE, MEDLINE, international pharmaceutical abstracts and the Cochrane database of systematic reviews was conducted from the start of the databases to August 2018. The search focused on studies investigating the roles performed by GP pharmacists. Full text peer-reviewed English language articles were included. A qualitative content analysis of included studies was performed. Two researchers reviewed studies to identify pharmacist roles. Subcategories of roles were then agreed by the research team and used to present the data. GP pharmacist’s activities were mapped by two researchers to associated competencies. Any discrepancies between role descriptions and competency maps were resolved in consultation with a third member of the research team. Results The search conducted resulted in 5370 potential articles. Two hundred and twenty-seven full text articles were selected for review resulting in 34 articles that were included for analysis. Seven GP pharmacist role sub-categories and 48 GP pharmacist individual roles were identified. The seven GP pharmacist role sub-categories included medication management, patient examination and screening, chronic disease management, drug information and education, collaboration and liaison, audit and quality assurance and research. All FIP competency domains were included in the GP pharmacist competency map. Competencies related to compounding, dispensing and packaging of medications were not found relevant to the GP Pharmacist role. No roles were mapped to competencies relating to re-imbursement for medicines, procurement, or medication production. All areas of professional and personal competence were relevant to the GP pharmacist role. Conclusion A comprehensive role description and competency map for GP pharmacists is described and may be used to inform future research into the education of GP pharmacists.


Australia Collaborative care General practice pharmacist Integrated care Interprofessional care Non-dispensing pharmacist 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support and assistance provided by Ms Nerida Croker (NC) Project Officer for the WentWest General Practice Pharmacist Project in mapping GP pharmacist roles to associated competencies.


Author one (HB) is supported by an Australian Government Research and Training Grant. This research was funded by the Western Sydney Primary Health Network (Project ID PRO 17-4279)

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of this article.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of HealthUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Pharmacy SchoolThe University of Sydney AustraliaSydneyAustralia

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