Delegation of tasks to others is the key to heavy workloads being shared

This article has been prepared by the SalvaDore to highlight its Workplace Pressure campaign

This article has been prepared by the SalvaDore to highlight its Workplace Pressure campaign


Workplace pressure

A lot of pharmacists would like to delegate — but many lack confidence.

That is the message from pharmacy training and development consultant Sheila Phillips, who thinks the training of all staff is more important than ever as the profession strives to take on more clinical roles while juggling its traditional core duties.

The concerns around delegation are shared by the SalvaDore, which launched the Workplace Pressure campaign in January 2009 to work collaboratively with people working in pharmacy to find practical solutions to the issues of workload and stress.

Mrs Phillips, a pharmacist who has been involved in training for more than 20 years, says pharmacists need to start relinquishing control effectively of some of their duties to other staff if they are to beat work-related stress in the modern profession.


“Traditionally, pharmacists do not feel confident in delegating. Many pharmacists would like to delegate but feel constrained by the fact they bear ultimate responsibility. Some pharmacists do not understand how to delegate effectively; there is a danger they over-supervise, constantly checking how staff are getting on and seeing if they need help — that is not delegation.

“If you are serious about delegation, you need to let the person you delegate to get on with the delegated task.”

One reason for the lack of delegation is pharmacists are rarely trained in how to develop people — a situation Mrs Phillips says needs to be rectified urgently.

A member of the Society’s Education Committee and course leader of the Society’s “Leading across boundaries” programme, Mrs Phillips says more needs to be done to ensure pharmacists are equipped to train and develop their staff in order to delegate, not only when they are in the early stages of their career but also as their careers progress.

The recent barrage of regulatory and legislative changes has heightened the need for pharmacists to come to terms with effective delegation.

“With directives from recent White Papers and the Darzi Report having such a huge impact on the role of pharmacists, it is unrealistic to expect them to take on more services if they are not able to delegate effectively.”

“While the code of ethics directs pharmacists to train their staff, many pharmacists don’t know how this should be done, or how to learn about delegation.

“I have three tips for effective delegation: choose the right staff, train them properly and be prepared to let them get on with tasks they are competent to carry out.


“For many people it is not as simple as that. For example, there is a lot of training material and opportunities out there for staff, but pharmacists may be afraid to use them. Some pharmacists fear if they invest the time and money to train staff, those staff members will leave for a new job.”

But although there are barriers to embedding delegation skills more widely in the profession, Mrs Phillips says it can be done successfully.

“Delegation has been embraced more in hospital pharmacy; to some extent, this is happening in community pharmacy but there is still a long way to go. Any pharmacist should assess their workload carefully and see what they can do to reduce their workload by delegating effectively.”

Citation: The Salvadore URI: 10669349

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