Precepting pharmacy students is a very rewarding experience.
Through observing your expertise, students gain practical pharmacy experience they’ll use in the near future.
Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned preceptor, there’s always room to enhance your rotation. As a former preceptor, I’d like to offer 5 tips for your pharmacy rotations.
1. Create a Rotation Manual and Calendar
It’s always important for pharmacy students to have clear expectations for their rotations. Create a rotation manual with clear learning objectives, assignments, site policies and procedures, and due dates. The calendar will enable everyone to keep track of the rotation.
If you split your time between a practice site and university, it’s important to outline this information in the rotation manual. The first day of your rotation can serve as an orientation, and always remember to ask the students if they have any questions.
I recommend creating time in students’ rotation to work on assignments. Library time enables them to research drug information questions and work on case presentations. This will help minimize the amount of work students must complete outside of the rotation.
2. Inspire Students
Set out each day to inspire your students and lead by example. If your students don’t know the answer to a question, don’t ever embarrass them. Rotations are a time for learning, so the best response is, “Why don’t you research this and give us a response tomorrow.” This provides students the opportunity to research a drug information question and gain the confidence of presenting their response to the preceptor and other rotation students.
Students are automatically nervous when you ask them questions, so it’s important to teach and not intimidate.
3. Develop Current-Event Discussions
Pharmacy current-event discussions are a great way to stay up-to-date with the profession. Students can select a timely topic affecting the pharmacy profession, like a new medication or legislative update. Then, they can informally present the topic in a way that leads to a lively discussion.
This can be done once a week, and it’s a great drug information update. You can also include other health care professionals at your practice site.
4. Provide Midpoint and Final Evaluations
It’s crucial to provide feedback to your students. The midpoint evaluation is the perfect time to illustrate students’ strengths and weaknesses in the rotation.
I suggest providing both a verbal and written evaluation. Meet with each student individually and discuss methods to enhance their skills. After the final evaluation, students should walk away with a clear understanding of how they performed and what steps they can take to be more successful on future rotations.
5. Listen to Students’ Feedback
Students will usually complete a written evaluation after your rotation through their school. It’s important to review the evaluation and use it to enhance your rotation. On the last day of your rotation, ask your students what they liked and what experiences they think could be improved or added.
Precepting is always a learning process, and it’s important to incorporate new ideas as you go. I wish you the best of luck on your precepting journey!