3 Ways for Pharmacists to Get Involved with Teaching

APRIL 27, 2017
Teaching is a great way to showcase your pharmacy knowledge and expertise. This may be the path you have always wanted to take or you may be considering the idea.  

I’ve always considered teaching as a 2-way street, as both you and your students will learn from the experience. Students will ask questions that you may not know the answer to, and this is perfectly normal. This gives you the opportunity to research the question and enhance your own knowledge.  

Check out these 3 ways to get involved with teaching.      

Pursue a career in academia.
Many colleges of pharmacy require a residency or fellowship to serve as a professor, but always check to be sure. Academia is a great career path, but it may not be for everyone. Decide first if you are interested in splitting your time between teaching and your practice site. Also, look into the publishing requirements for the university. Some programs require that you publish an article in a peer-reviewed journal once a year. As a professor, you may also have requirements to serve on college committees such as admissions, research, or alumni relations. If you are currently completing a residency program and are interested in academia, then it is important to incorporate teaching into your experience. Speak with your residency director about teaching at a pharmacy school or presenting a disease state topic for rotation students. Develop a pharmacy elective. Pharmacy schools are always looking for innovative electives. This is a great opportunity to serve as an adjunct faculty, which does not usually require a residency.

Contact your local pharmacy school to determine what their needs are for your expertise.  
Develop a course syllabus including learning objectives, outcomes, and lecture topics to submit for approval. Class sizes for electives are generally smaller, so it can be a more interactive course. Creating an online elective may also give you more flexibility. However, you lose some of the interactive component with this method. There are a variety of great elective ideas including women’s health, informatics, consulting, pain management, and medical writing.      

Serve as a preceptor.
Serving as a preceptor is a great way to teach students on their clinical rotations. If you like the idea of teaching small groups of pharmacy students, then serving as a preceptor is the right path for you. This is a great way to showcase your expertise and train students to become skilled clinical pharmacists.  You can contact your local pharmacy school or alma mater to find out about precepting opportunities. Generally, 2-4 students will join you for approximately 4-6 weeks depending on the university’s requirements.
Preceptors can attend the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference in Washington D.C. Aug. 16-18, 2017 to enhance precepting skills and network. Also, check with the pharmacy school to see if preceptor training programs are available. Teaching is a very rewarding experience, but it is important to choose the path that works for you and the students.  

The best of luck on your teaching journey!

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2
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