Impact of decentralized pharmacy technicians on medication delivery and nursing satisfaction

Gwen J Seamon, Megan Bereda, Raoof Abdellatif


It is known that a positive relationship between pharmacy and nursing services is crucial to ensure timely medication delivery to patients within a large academic medical center. Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, explored the impact of a decentralized pharmacy technician (DPT) model on nursing satisfaction with pharmacy as well as on the medication delivery process. During this two-week prospective study, two DPTs were assigned to service either an intensive care unit or a general medicine floor. Two parameters were implemented to assess the effectiveness of this model: 1) nursing satisfaction surveys were distributed at the beginning and end of the study period, and 2) the number of missing medication requests sent to the central pharmacy during the study period was monitored. The results of the study found a statistically significant (p<0.001) increase in all five survey questions administered anonymously to nursing staff, measured on a Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree), representing an overall positive response to the DPT model. It was also noted that 74% of medications previously requiring physical pick-up by nurses at the central pharmacy were delivered to patient rooms by DPTs during the study period, thereby reducing nursing workload. However, the study did not find a significant decrease in the number of electronic missing medication requests (463 pre-intervention versus 453 during intervention). Overall, the DPT model shows promise in developing more timely and effective medication delivery system while also bridging the communication gap between pharmacy and nursing services. Further studies needed to evaluate the long-term effects of the DPT model.


Pharmacy technician; decentralization; pharmacy services; hospital nursing; medication

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