Working conditions in a pharmaceutical compounding unit: Impact of automation of parenteral nutrition elaboration

2 October 2013

J. Tavernier1, E. Thibert1, M. Van Hollebeke1, M. Jouannet1, V. Sautou1,2, J. Chopineau1,2 1- Service Pharmacie, CHU Clermont-Ferrand
2- UFR Pharmacie Clermont 1, Université d’Auvergne


Pharmacy technician work is subject to different constraints, especially in parenteral nutrition elaboration (work in controlled atmosphere area, metered dose precision …). The aim of this study is to identify the constraints sources and to assess the impact of automation on it.

Material & Methods

A 25 items questionnaire was individually and anonymously completed by 4 technicians, before and after automation of parenteral mixture elaboration. The severity of working conditions was scored (about 0 to 10), and each item was classified into 4 categories: physical, organizational, psychical or environmental constraints.

Scored items over 7/10 were considered like high-risk stressful items.
A significant impact on working conditions was considered if difference of means between BEFORE score and AFTER score was over 1 point.


Before automation, 4 high risk items were identified: duration of working sessions (7.75/10), quality of procedures (7/10), fulfillment of timing obligation (7/10) and high-level attention (8.25/10). Two of them showed improvement AFTER automation: the duration of working sessions (7.75 Vs 5.25) and high-level attention (8.25 Vs 6), and two other items showed improvement too: strenuous working postures (4.75 Vs 3.5) and repetitive gestures causing fatigue or pain (5.25 Vs 3.5).


We already knew that automation reducing the time of elaboration of parenteral nutrition mixtures without affect the accuracy of composition. This study also shows that automation of parenteral nutrition elaboration improve the working conditions in a pharmaceutical compounding unit, particularly by decrease some physical, organizational and psychical constraints.

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