Process study within a pilot cluster randomised trial in community pharmacy: an exploration of pharmacist readiness for research

Stewart, Duncan, Madden, Mary, Van Dongen, Anne, Watson, Michelle, Morris, Stephanie, Whittlesea, Cate and McCambridge, Jim (2021) Process study within a pilot cluster randomised trial in community pharmacy: an exploration of pharmacist readiness for research. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 17 (10). pp. 1750-1757. ISSN 1551-7411


Community pharmacies have an increasingly prominent public health function. This includes addressing alcohol, but guidance on delivery of alcohol interventions in this setting is lacking. We have developed an intervention that integrates attention to alcohol within existing community pharmacy medicine review services. This paper examines the experiences of community pharmacists (CPs) in conducting a pilot trial of the intervention, including the acceptability of the trial patient recruitment procedures, and the training and support provided by the research team.

The pilot trial was conducted in 10 community pharmacies in Yorkshire, England. One CP from each pharmacy was recruited via a multi-stage process to assess motivation, commitment and capacity to participate. Each CP attended a research training day and received on-going research support to conduct the trial. Semi-structured audio-recorded face-to-face interviews (lasting 40-105 minutes) were conducted with all the CPs at the end of the trial. Data were also available from three direct observations conducted during trial support visits. Data were analysed thematically.

The CPs were supportive of research in community pharmacy but had little direct experiences of research themselves. They valued the training and support provided, which had quickly identified areas where CPs were deviating from the study recruitment protocol. In some instances, the boundaries between research and practice became blurred with CPs making changes to their usual routines and interactions with patients to accommodate the research.

The trial procedures were acceptable to CPs, in part because of the training and support provided. There are also identifiable areas where CPs’ readiness for research could be enhanced to facilitate participation in future trials in this setting.

CP research readiness.RSAP final accepted version.docx - Accepted Version

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