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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Psychology, including, Business and Management.


Objectives: The purpose of this research was to give voice to the unique lived experiences of community pharmacists who continued to work in patient-facing roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Research objectives sought to understand how they felt about working during this time including any risks felt, why they choose to continue working, and what the post-COVID future might hold for them and their profession. Method: The study was guided by the principles of traditional interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Primary research was collated using semi-structured interviews of a small, purposively selected homogenous group of pharmacists. The research context was a chain of community pharmacies, operating in a busy Irish city centre location. The study reflected upon the literature which continues to emerge, detailing the experiences of pharmacists and other healthcare workers in similar positions working throughout COVID-19, and during previous pandemics. Results: The study gave voice to community pharmacists who, despite feeling significant personal risk, continued to work through the pandemic out of a felt duty of care and sense of vocation. Participants compared their experience to being at war and reported feelings of isolation and experiences of mental ill-health. The supports they drew from, from colleagues, employer and others, are outlined. Advances to the profession, an improved perception of the role of pharmacists as frontline workers, and personal growth are highlighted as positive outcomes. Conclusion: The paper offers insights for pharmacies and related professional bodies based on participants’ experiences of working through COVID-19.