A qualitative study of English community pharmacists’ experiences of providing lifestyle advice to patients with cardiovascular disease

Kirsty Morton, Helen Pattison*, Chris Langley, Rachael Powell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - Cardiovascular disease (CVD) progression is modifiable through lifestyle behaviors. Community pharmacists are ideally placed to facilitate self-management of cardiovascular health however research shows varied pharmacist engagement in providing lifestyle advice.
Objective - This study explored community pharmacists' experiences and perceptions of providing lifestyle advice to patients with CVD.
Methods - Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen pharmacists (1 supermarket; 7 multiple; 7 independent) recruited through multiple methods from community pharmacies across the Midlands, England. A thematic analysis was conducted using a Framework approach.
Results - Pharmacists categorized patients according to their perceptions of the patients' ability to benefit from advice. Many barriers to providing lifestyle advice were identified. Confidence to provide lifestyle advice varied, with pharmacists most comfortable providing lifestyle advice in conjunction with conversations about medicines. Some pharmacists felt lifestyle advice was an integral part of their role whilst others questioned whether pharmacists should give lifestyle advice at all, particularly when receiving no remuneration for doing so.
Conclusion - Pharmacists viewed providing lifestyle advice as important but identified many barriers to doing so. Lifestyle advice provision was influenced by pharmacists' perceptions of patients. Professional identity and associated role conflict appeared to underpin many of the barriers to pharmacists providing lifestyle advice. Pharmacists may benefit from enhanced training to: increase their confidence to provide lifestyle advice; integrate lifestyle advice with regular pharmaceutical practice and challenge their perceptions of some patients' receptiveness to lifestyle advice and behavior change. Changes to the way UK pharmacists are remunerated may increase the provision of lifestyle advice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e17-e29
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in social and administrative pharmacy
Issue number1
Early online date9 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Funded by an MRC/ESRC interdisciplinary studentship.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Community pharmacists
  • Lifestyle advice
  • Professional identity
  • Self-management


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