BPS 2020 PGY-2 Seed Grant
Lauren Pamulapati, PharmD, BCACP, headshot
Vasyl Zbyrak, PharmD, headshot
Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction in Board-Certified Pharmacists
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Lauren Pamulapati, assistant professor in the VCU School of Pharmacy and Center for Pharmacy Practice Innovation core faculty member, and Vasyl Zbyrak, a PGY-2 in the school’s Ambulatory Care Residency, are receiving one of two 2020 BPS PGY-2 Residency Research Seed Grants. Their anticipated project focuses on an area in which no current research exists — job satisfaction among pharmacists with board certification.

By looking at the 2018 Virginia Pharmacy Workforce Survey data, the pair — along with CPPI faculty members Dave Dixon, Teresa Salgado and Evan Sisson and CPPI Ph.D. student Rotana Radwan — will be examining variables such as age, sex, level of training and proportion of patient care hours to see if they have any effect on overall job satisfaction.

“With the growing body of pharmacists holding board certification, it is important to understand the factors associated with increased job satisfaction, which are currently unknown,” they said in their proposal. “The purpose of this study is to identify the factors associated with increased job satisfaction among board-certified pharmacists in Virginia.”

Pamulapati became interested in board certification a few years ago when the Board of Pharmacy Specialties put out a call for a role delineation study. She sat on the study panel at the American Pharmacists Association annual meeting in 2019 and discovered several similarities between the goals of CPPI and BPS. She now sits on the national Specialty Council on Ambulatory Care Pharmacy.

“I was really intrigued because our two missions — those of BPS and CPPI — are very similar as we both want to advance practice,” she said.

Board certification helps with differentiation in job candidate selection, but there’s no current research on how it affects pharmacists’ patient outcomes. Ultimately, consistent with the mission of BPS, this study will provide critical information in the pursuit of linking board-certified pharmacists with improved patient outcomes. 

“The more confident and competent you are in your specialty, the more likely you will produce better patient outcomes, and the more satisfied you’ll likely be with what you’re doing,” Pamulapti said.

The data includes both in-state and out-of-state pharmacists — anyone who completed the survey after renewing their Virginia pharmacist license in 2018. The survey has a 90% response rate with more than 1,400 board-certified participants. The residency research grant will go toward covering statistical support for Zbyrak as he cleans and analyzes the dataset.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of this amazing team and excited about the opportunity provided by the Board of Pharmacy Specialists,” the PGY-2 resident said. “An essential aspect of residency is learning and taking on new challenges, which this project provides. I look forward to learning the aspects of project management from a grant perspective as well as working with specialized programs to help manage and manipulate extensive datasets.”

The long-term objective of this study is to collect the preliminary data necessary for a nationwide study to determine factors impacting burnout and resiliency among board-certified pharmacists and the degree of impact of each of those factors on patient outcomes.

Now in its third year, the BPS PGY-2 Residency Research Seed Grant Program awards up to two $5,000 grants each year to PGY-2 pharmacy residents who design projects to evaluate the impact of pharmacist board certification on medication-related outcomes for patients, demonstrate the value of board certification for pharmacist specialists to key stakeholder groups (e.g. patients, payers and physicians), or contribute to credentialing or privileging of pharmacist specialists across practice settings.

The Center for Pharmacy Practice Innovation exists to help pharmacists optimize patient outcomes by being a leader in transforming ambulatory and community pharmacy practice and advancing pharmacists’ roles on patient-centered, collaborative care teams.

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