Monash University
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Human Resource Issues in Cytotoxic Drug Dispensing

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-08, 02:32 authored by Roos, Ian, Makela, Tuija
Introduction: The human resource issues for pharmacists manipulating and dispensing cytotoxic drugs in cabinets and clean rooms in accordance with Australian Standards have been investigated. The technology is regulating, resulting in very formal procedures and work practices. Often staff work under conditions of restricted environmental stimulation that can have effects on cognitive functioning and reduce efficiency for demanding tasks. Methods: Discussions were held with senior staff of twenty hospitals treating patients with cancer, one manufacturing facility and one research laboratory, regarding work in cytotoxic drug suites. A survey was administered to staff working in these facilities. Issues explored included: work practices; rosters; cleaning; work flow; ergonomics; quality of work environment; clothing; certification of facilities; and training. Results and Discussion: The survey shows that the major stressors for people working in the facilities are the physical conditions, especially the temperature, and the lack of control over workflow. It confirms the importance of windows in the working environment and the need for communication facilities. Design deficiencies in the technology that impact the quality of the work environment are identified. There are age differences with regard to perceptions of risk from cytotoxic drugs. The study identifies the need for further training, both in technique and understanding of the technology. Conclusion: Whilst minimising risk to staff, the adoption of the technology has had an impact on the work environment. Identification of these issues should enable improved facilities and work environment.


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Department of Management.

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