The development of a peer support intervention to address the challenges faced by novice community pharmacists at transition to practice

Exploring the challenges faced by novice community pharmacists at transition and developing support interventions to address these challenges.

Ms Esnath Magola, University of Manchester


Transition begins when newly qualified (novice) practitioners register and become professionally accountable for patient care. Research from studies in nursing and medicine reports that transition is the most challenging period of a healthcare practitioner’s career. Other evidence suggests that challenging transitions have negative implications for learning, development and the quality of the care given by practitioners. Public sector organisations have therefore developed support interventions for novice doctors and nurses to address the problems experienced at transition. They include structured programmes, shadowing, preceptorship, and mentorship of novice practitioners and have demonstrated benefits for practitioners, patients and the organisation.

There are currently no studies that specifically explore the transition experiences of novice community pharmacists. Studies involving early career community pharmacists are beginning to demonstrate that transition and early practice may indeed be problematic. Despite this, support interventions for novice community pharmacists that are based on empirical evidence, remain lacking.

The study aims to explore the challenges faced by novice community pharmacists at transition and develop an evidence-based peer support intervention to address these challenges.


  1. To identify and understand the challenges faced by novice practitioners at transition
  2. To explore the perceived impact of these challenges
  3. To explore support strategies used novice community pharmacists in the transition period
  4. To propose an evidence-based support intervention structure
  5. To run and evaluate the proposed intervention in a feasibility study


Structured focus group interviews with recently-qualified community pharmacists, pharmacy support staff, and pre-registration tutors will use nominal group technique to identify the challenges faced by novice community pharmacists, their perceived impact, and support strategies. A feasibility study will evaluate the acceptability and contribution of the peer support intervention to the transition of novice community pharmacists.

How the results of the research will be used

The study will provide the framework for an evidence-based peer support intervention for novice community pharmacists. Recommendations will be made to education providers, regulatory/professional bodies, and employers, about the support needs of novice community pharmacists and ways in which they can be addressed.

This project started in October 2016 and is due to finish in January 2018.

See the detailed project description for more information.