A global perspective of the roles of the pharmacist in the NICU

Natalia Krzyzaniak*, Beata Bajorek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To describe pharmacist practice and roles performed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) worldwide and to map these findings along the medicines management pathway (MMP). Method: Quasi-systematic review. Search Strategy: Google Scholar, Medline/PubMed and Embase were searched utilising the selected MeSH terms. Results: Thirty sources of information were reviewed. Overall, pharmacist practice in the NICU involves a wide-range of roles, with the most commonly reported involving patient medication chart review, therapeutic drug monitoring and the provision of medication information. Studies highlight that pharmacist contribution to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) regimens and patient medication chart review is beneficial to patient outcomes. Roles beyond the regular scope of practice included involvement in immunisation programmes and research. Most of the data were collected from the USA (13 of 30), followed by the UK (6 of 30) and reports from other countries. The American, British, South African and Australian articles have reported very similar roles, with a pharmacist firmly integrated into the overall structure of the NICU team. Conclusion: The literature identifies that there is insufficient evidence to describe what roles are currently performed in NICUs worldwide. This is due to the lack of recently published articles leading to a large gap in knowledge in understanding what contemporary pharmaceutical services in the NICU comprise. Further research is required to address these gaps in knowledge, and identify the impact of the pharmacist's role on neonatal patient outcomes as well as to determine how to better resource NICUs to access pharmacy services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


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