RESEARCH ARTICLE: Icelandic community pharmacists' and pharmacy students' expectations of future role extensions and education requirements: A cross-sectional survey




Community pharmacy, Education, Iceland, Role extension, Training


Aim: To explore the expectations of Icelandic community pharmacists and final year pharmacy students on future role extensions and associated education needs.   

Methods: All community pharmacists across Iceland registered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Iceland (LFI) (n=136) and all fourth- and fifth-year pharmacy students enrolled at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Iceland (n=69). An online cross-sectional questionnaire was designed, validated, piloted and analysed using descriptive statistics, logistic regression and content analysis.   

Results: The response rate was 27.9% (n=38) for community pharmacists and 33.3% (n=23) for fourth- and fifth-year pharmacy students respectively. Of these, 90.2% (n=55) saw the need for community pharmacists’ role extensions and most (n=60, 98.4%) were willing to accept additional education to make role extensions in Iceland possible. Logistic regression identified that students identified the need for pharmacists to be making prescribing recommendations to medical healthcare professionals (p=0.023); for example “Pharmacists should use their knowledge to give advice and collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals about drug therapies”.

Conclusion: Both community pharmacists and pharmacy students showed a strong willingness to extend their roles in the future. It will require government support to overcome perceived barriers and to develop further education programmes.

Author Biographies

Anita Elaine Weidmann, Robert Gordon University, United Kingdom

School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences

Unnur Karen Guðbjörnsdóttir, University of Iceland, Iceland

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Anna Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir, University of Iceland, Iceland

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pétur Gunnarsson , University of Iceland, Iceland

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Freyja Jónsdóttir, University of Iceland, Iceland

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Aldeyab M., & Al-Azzam S (2020). Community pharmacy has a big role in managing the conditions that double as risk factors for pandemic diseases. The Pharmaceutical Journal. Available at:

Author unknown (2015). RPS signs international agreement to share best pharmacy practice. Available at:

Author unknown (2018). Icelandic pharmacists receive Faculty pins at FIP 2018. Available at:

Bandura A (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Bell, H.M., Maguire, T.A., Adair, C.G., & McGartland, L.F. (2001). Perceptions of CPD within the pharmacy profession. The International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 9(S1), 55-55.

Bidwell, S., & Lee, T. (2015). GPs, community pharmacists and shifting professional boundaries. The New Zealand Medical Journal. 128(1414), 19

Blöndal, A.B., Sporrong, S.K., & Almarsdottir, A.B. (2017). Introducing pharmaceutical care to primary care in Iceland—An action research study. Pharmacy. 5(2), 23.

Blöndal, A.B., Almarsdóttir, A.B., Jónsson, J.S., & Gizurarson, S. (2021). General practitioners' perceptions of the current status and pharmacists' contribution to primary care in Iceland. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy. 39(4), 945-952.

Dalton, K., Byrne, S. (2017). Role of the pharmacist in reducing healthcare costs: current insights. Integrated pharmacy research & practice. 6, 37-46.

Edmunds, J., & Calnan, M.W. (2001). The reprofessionalisation of community pharmacy? An exploration of attitudes to extended roles for community pharmacists amongst pharmacists and General Practioners in the United Kingdom. Social Science & Medicine. 53(7), 943–955.

EAHP. European Hospital Pharmacy Survey 2010. Available at:

Garattini, L. (2020). Do European pharmacists really have to trespass on medicine? The European Journal of Health Economics. 22,1-4.

Harrison, J., Scahill, S., & Sheridan, J. (2012). New Zealand pharmacists' alignment with their professional body's vision for the future. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 8(1), 17–35.

HM Government & Department of Health. Pharmacy in England: Building on strength – delivering the future.(2008). Available at:

Horák, P., Gibbsons, N., Sýkora, J., Peppard, J., Gala, T.M., & Underhill, J. (2017). EAHP European Statements Survey Results 2015. European Journal of Hospital Pharmacists. 24(3),138-146

Hsieh, H.E., & Shannon, S.E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research. 15(9), 1277-88.

International Pharmaceutical Federation (2020). FIP Health Advisory COVID 19: Guidelines for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce. Available at:

Iversen, L., Mollison, J., & Macleod, T.N.N. (2001). Attitudes of the general public to the expanding role of community pharmacist: a pilot study. Family Practice. 18(5), 534 – 536.

Kringos, D.S., Boerma W.G.W., Hutchinson, A., & Saltman, B. (2015). Building primary care in a changing Europe: Case studies. Available at:

Mak, V.S.L., March, G., Clark, A., & Gilbert, A.L. (2013). Australian intern pharmacists' perceived preparedness for practice, and their expectations and experiences of the internship year and future career intentions. Integrated Pharmacy Research and Practice. 2013(2), 25-34

Merks, P., Jakubowska M., Drelich E., Swieczkowski D., Bogusz J., Bilmin K., Fehir Sola K., May A., Majchrowska A., Koziol M., Pawlikowski J., Jaguszewski M., & Vaillancourt R. (2020). The legal extension of the role of pharmacists in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 17(1),1807-1812.

Ministry of Welfare (2012). Reglugerð um menntun, réttindi og skyldur lyfjafræðinga ogskilyrði til að hljóta starfsleyfi og sérfræðileyfi. Available at:

Ministry of Welfare (2017). Reglugerð um lyfjaávísanir og afhendingu lyfja. Available at:

Moltó-Puigmarti, C. (2018). A logic model for pharmaceutical care. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. 23(3), 148-157.

Mossialos, E., Courtin, E., Naci, H., Benrimoj, S., Bouvy, M., Farris, K., & Sketris, I. (2015). From "retailers" to health care providers: Transforming the role of community pharmacists in chronic disease management. Health Policy. 119(5), 628–639.

Mukattash, T.L., Nuseir, K.Q., Bilmji, E., Jarah, A.S., & Alefin, Q. (2015). Students' perceptions of pharmacy as a specialisation and their future career, a cross section study of final year pharmacy students in Jordan. Jordan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 8 (8)

Prochaska, J.O., & DiClemente C.O. (2015). The transtheoretical approach. In: Norcorss J.C. and Goldfried, M.r. (2nd Edition), Handbook of Psychotherapy Integration (p 147). Oxford University Press

Public Health England (2017). Pharmacy: A way forward for public health. Available at:

Rawlins, M.D. (1991). Extending the role of the community pharmacist. British Medical Journal. 302,427-428

Rosen, M.A., DiazGranados, D., Dietz, A.S., Benishek, L.E., Thompson, D., Pronovost, P.J., & Weaver, S.J. (2018). Teamwork in healthcare: key discoveries enabling safer, high-quality care. American Psychological Association. 73(4),433-450.

Rosenthal, M.M., Breault, R.R., Austin, Z., & Tsuyuki, R.T. (2011). Pharmacists' self-perception of their professional role: Insight into community pharmacy culture. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 51(3), 363-367.

Sigurgeirsdóttir, S. Waagfjöd, J., & Maresso. A. (2014). Iceland: Health system review. Health System in Transition. 16(6), 1-182, xv

Statistics Iceland (2018). Inhabitants in Iceland will be 436 in 2067. Available at:

Švarcaitė, J. (2019). Ovierview of Community Pharamcy Services in Europe. Available at:

Taylor, D., Bury, PM., Campling, N., Carter, S., Garfield, S., Newbound, J., & Rennie, T. N. (2006). A review of the use of the Health belief Model (HBM), the Theory of reasoned Action (TRA), the Theory of Planned behaviour (TPB) and the Trans-Theoretical Model (TTM) to study and predict health related behaviour change. National Institute of Clinical Excellence. Available at:




How to Cite

Weidmann, A. E., Guðbjörnsdóttir, U. K., Gunnarsdóttir, A. I., Gunnarsson , P., & Jónsdóttir, F. (2021). RESEARCH ARTICLE: Icelandic community pharmacists’ and pharmacy students’ expectations of future role extensions and education requirements: A cross-sectional survey . Pharmacy Education, 21, p. 83–91.



Research Article