Pharmacists' perceived barriers towards delivering their emergency roles
during the COVID-19 pandemic and perceived policymakers'
Rational: In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared
the coronavirus infectious disease as a pandemic referred to as
COVID-19. As an essential service, community pharmacists have been
enacting a key role in patient counseling and supply of essential
medicines and protective equipment. Objectives: To investigate
pharmacists’ perspectives of the role of educational institutes and
professional pharmacy organizations in supporting them to take on roles
during COVID-19 pandemic and to identify barriers to be able to support
themselves and their patients. Methods: This descriptive mixed-method
study was conducted via a cross-sectional online survey distributed to
pharmacists/pharmacy students in Jordan during the COVID-19 outbreak
(15-30 March 2020) using an online questionnaire, followed by an online
focus group. Questionnaire items related to participants’ perspectives
in being prepared for and supported in their roles during the COVID-19
pandemic and items were tested for face validity. Data were
descriptively analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social
Sciences and triangulated with focus group findings. Results:
Considering that fear and anxiety are a consequence of mass social
distancing/quarantine, study participants (n=726, age=26.9 (SD=8.0)
years, 71.9% females), reported needing training on mental healthcare
to be able to support themselves and people during pandemics (90.2%).
Most respondents agreed/strongly agreed (59.7%) with the statement
around pharmacy educators/educational institutes having a key role in
preparing pharmacists for practice during epidemics/pandemics, and
agreed that their faculties should add a course regarding pandemic
preparedness in their curriculum (89.9%). Results were similar
regarding roles for the pharmaceutical associations. Focus group
findings (n=7) mirrored the survey findings to a large extent.
Conclusions: Most participants believed that Pharmacy Educators and
pharmaceutical associations have a role in preparing them to deal with
the COVID-19 pandemic through online educational workshops/webinars.
Online education on mental healthcare is specifically needed.