A Focus on Leadership: CSHP’s 2007 National Leadership Survey


  • Emily Lap Sum Musing Multimed Inc.
  • Michael Wong
  • Leah Jackson
  • Justin Lee
  • Christine Slote




Today’s hospital pharmacists face a choice among numerous career paths, of which pharmacy management is only one. Effective leadership of an institution’s pharmacy department has been identified as crucial to staff development and the maintenance of high patient-care standards.1 However, there are many barriers to attracting interested and qualified candidates to this realm of management. As with many professional curricula, undergraduate pharmacy programs focus on the development of clinical competency, with only minimal exposure to management-specific tasks. Although hospital pharmacy residency programs include an administration rotation, these tend to be shorter than the clinical rotations, which further downplays management as a potential career option. Once clinicians enter the field of hospital pharmacy, they are faced with a health care environment that has undergone a flattening of organizational structure and elimination of many entry-level management positions. Consequently, it is challenging for front-line clinicians to obtain meaningful exposure to leadership tasks that allow for development of the necessary skills, networking base, and confidence to pursue a management career path. The results of these barriers to the preparation and support of individuals interested in pursuing hospital pharmacy management are becoming obvious. Organizations are having great difficulty in attracting and retaining pharmacists in practice management and leadership roles. In some cases, this has led to the appointment of nonpharmacists to these leadership positions. As well, surveys of hospital pharmacy managers in both the United States2 and Canada3 have shown gaps in self-perceived competency in managerial skills. The environment within hospital pharmacy reflects the bigger picture within health care, where there are similar concerns. A study of management competencies conducted in collaboration with the Canadian College of Health Service Executives revealed a self-identified skill deficit among Canadian health care managers.4 Finally, both hospital pharmacy departments and departments outside pharmacy are identifying concerns about the number of current leaders nearing retirement age and the limited number successors in sight. A first step to correcting the current deficit in candidates interested in pursuing a career in hospital pharmacy management is to identify positive factors that would support such an interest. We developed a survey to solicit the insights and perspectives of current hospital pharmacy leaders in the hope of gaining an understanding of the career paths, education and training, external influences, and motivating factors that led these leaders to accept their current management positions.


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