Organizations shape pharmacists’ work as gatekeepers (Social Science and Medicine)

By Michael Hotchkiss, Office of Communications

Pharmacists regularly face a range of ethical dilemmas, from deciding whether to dispense emergency contraception to managing requests for narcotics, and must navigate a range of relationships with other health-care professionals.

Using 95 interviews with pharmacists working in retail and hospital settings, Princeton researcher Elizabeth Chiarello shows how organizations shape the way pharmacists exercise their roles as medical, legal, fiscal and moral gatekeepers. An article by Chiarello based on the research was published online by the journal Social Science and Medicine.

According to the paper by Chiarello, a sociologist working as a postdoctoral research associate at the Office of Population Research within the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, the findings suggest new directions for theorizing about ethical decision-making in medical contexts.

Read the abstract.

Chiarello, Elizabeth. 2013. How Organizational Context Affects Bioethical Decision-Making: Pharmacists’ Management of Gatekeeping Processes in Retail and Hospital Settings. Social Science and Medicine. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.041

Funding for this research was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the U.S. Department and Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Princeton University Office of Population Research, the Princeton University Center for Health and Wellbeing, and a grant from the University of California, Irvine Center for Organizational Research.