Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences

First Advisor

Myo-Kyoung Kim

First Committee Member

Linda Norton

Second Committee Member

Rajkumar Sevak

Third Committee Member

Mark Stackpole


Background. Career success can be examined from an objective perspective by assessing tangible measures of success, such as salary, or from a subjective perspective by examining an individual’s reflections of their own career. While previous literature has identified characteristics of pharmacists that contribute to professional success, there is a lack in literature regarding whether certain traits or job-related characteristics may predict success.

Purpose and Objectives. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of grit and work engagement on career success among practicing pharmacists in the United States (U.S.). A secondary objective is to identify how pharmacists describe career success.

Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted through an anonymous, online survey distributed to pharmacists throughout the U.S. The 65-question survey included the Grit-S, UWES-9, and SCSI scales to measure grit (goal-oriented resilience), work engagement with positive emotions, and subjective career success, respectively. The survey captured demographics, included validity questions, and asked open-ended questions to describe career success. After validity testing, multiple regression analysis was performed using SPSS® to examine the impact of grit and work engagement on subjective career success. Open-ended responses underwent conventional content analysis.

Results. 586 survey responses were included in the data analysis. Multiple regression analysis revealed that both work engagement (p < 0.001, β = 0.52) and grit (p < 0.001, β = 0.18) uniquely accounted for variation in subjective career success, with the variables collectively explaining 36.7% of the variation (R = 0.6060, p < 0.001). Work engagement is a stronger predictor than grit, supported by the comparison of the standardized coefficient. However, grit is not a significant moderator of the relationship between work engagement and success (ΔR2 = 0.001, p = 0.437). Qualitative analysis indicated that the three most common themes pharmacists employed to describe career success included “satisfaction” (29.1%), “impact on patient care” (22.7%), and “impact on students” (16.7%), while “financial compensation” (4.2%) and “leadership” (1.1%) were among the least common themes utilized to describe success.

Conclusion. The findings indicate that cultivating grit and encouraging a positive work-related mindset among pharmacists may lead to their potential career success. By identifying factors or concepts that can be predictors of professional success among pharmacists, we may provide pharmacy practice sites with information to spark conversations between pharmacists and management leaders regarding long-term planning and career goals.





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