Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe behaviors of community pharmacists related to pediatric prescriptions and examine the effect of demographic and situational factors on behaviors and confidence in performing recommended activities when dispensing medications for pediatric patients.
Methods: The study employed a self-administered survey of community pharmacists in a regional chain. One intervention group attended a live continuing education session. A second intervention group received a dosing guide in the mail. One month after the intervention, both intervention groups and a control group completed the survey.
Results: Sixty pharmacists participated, for a response rate of 61%. Obtaining a weight for a pediatric prescription was reported as difficult by participants, and 60% rarely obtained a weight if one was not provided. Only 32% of participants reported calculating a dose when the weight was available. The majority (92%) of participants stated they were confident in calculating a dose and detecting a dosing error for a child. Only the pharmacist’s perception of the organizational culture correlated with their behaviors and level of confidence toward performing the activities surveyed (P < 0.005). Because of the small number of participants in the continuing education program, the impact of the intervention was unable to be measured.
Conclusions: Pharmacists rarely check the accuracy of a weight-based dose for pediatric prescriptions, although they are confident in their ability to do so. Integrating this activity into the pharmacist’s workflow and pharmacy culture is critical to reducing pediatric medication errors and promoting patient safety.