5 Tips for Success on Pharmacy Rotations from a Former Preceptor

Pharmacy rotations are a time to showcase your didactic coursework and prepare for your future career as a pharmacist.

Pharmacy rotations are a time to showcase your didactic coursework and prepare for your future career as a pharmacist. Therefore, it’s important to make the most of your experience.

As a former preceptor, I’d like to provide 5 helpful tips for success on your pharmacy rotations:

1. Contact Your Preceptor in Advance

Preceptors love when you contact them before your rotation because it shows you’re motivated and ready to learn. It’s best to contact your preceptor at least 2 weeks before your rotation by email with a copy of your updated CV. Set a reminder in your smartphone so you remember this important step to demonstrate your professionalism.

Additionally, inquire what steps you should take to prepare for the rotation. Your preceptor may send you readings and orientation material. Always review everything you receive before the first day of rotation, and write down any questions you have.

Also, make sure to be on time each and every day. Tardiness is a pet peeve of most preceptors.

2. Answer Drug Information Questions

Pharmacists are considered medication experts, so you should expect drug information questions from your preceptor and other health care professionals. With guidelines constantly changing and new medications continuously being approved, nobody expects you to remember everything. So, always take time to research the question and respond by the next day.

It’s important to use reputable resources like clinical studies. Performing a literature search through PubMed will present a plethora of studies and articles.

3. Ask Questions

Preceptors always enjoy student questions, as it also helps them stay up-to-date. Always ask questions to expand your knowledge and help build your confidence.

At the end of each day, write down your questions on a notepad or your smartphone. Remember, this is the time for you to learn as much as possible.

4. Comply with HIPAA policies

Remember to keep all patient information confidential. For presentations, always remove any personal identifying information like name and date of birth. Medical charts should never leave your rotation site.

When in doubt, always check with your preceptor regarding HIPAA policies and procedures. This will usually be outlined in your orientation manual.

5. Work Hard, But Make Time to Relax

You’ll no doubt be working long hours during your rotations. There will be presentations, case discussions, and journal clubs. Try to work on your assignments each day so they aren’t left to the last minute. This will ensure you produce high-quality work.

However, you also need to make time for yourself. Remember to eat a nutritious breakfast to start your day. Then, in the evening, spend some time relaxing. Read, cook, spend time with your family, or watch your favorite TV show to help you unwind.

These tips apply to any clinical experiences, including community, hospital, and drug information rotations. Believe it or not, your rotations will fly by, and before you know it, you’ll be a pharmacist.