Assessing Counseling Practices of Community Pharmacists in Nigeria
Inadequate counseling by pharmacists on medication–related issues could cause therapeutic failure. This study examined extent of counseling by community pharmacists; appraised their actual counseling activities; and identified barriers to counseling. The study utilized two approaches: (i) an observational cross-sectional survey of 198 randomly selected community pharmacists and (ii) stimulated-patient (SPs) method to appraise counseling practices in 106 pharmacies. Data were summarized with appropriate statistics at p<0.05. Extent of counseling was moderate (60%) and gaps exist between SPs and community pharmacists’ assessments of counseling practices. Significant associations exist between years in practice as community pharmacists (χ2=31.81, p=0.021), their ages, (χ2=55.48, p=0.043, academic qualifications (χ2=26.79, p=0.001) with extent of counseling. Barriers to counseling include absence of patient medication history (84.6%), insufficient space in pharmacies (79.6%), and training of pharmacists (78.2%). Level of counseling was suboptimal but could be improved if community pharmacists embark on continuous training to acquire more counseling skills.