Preparing for Success: Tips on How to Excel on Your IPPE Rotations

Pharmacy CareersSpring 2024
Volume 18
Issue 01

Five tips to keep in mind before you begin your IPPEs.

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) are an imperative aspect of a student pharmacist’s academic career. These IPPE rotations provide students with invaluable experiences, which along with the knowledge and clinical skills they are developing in the classroom, they can be applied to give meaningful patient care. This past summer, I completed my community and institutional IPPEs and gathered a few tips that helped me get the most out of my rotations. Below are a few to help you prepare for yours.

Smiling young female worker in pharmacy wearing labcoat checking inventory using digital tablet | Image Credit: StratfordProductions -

Image Credit: StratfordProductions -

1. Contact Your. Preceptor Early

Reaching out to your preceptor and giving them a sufficient amount of time (at least 2 weeks) to get back to you is crucial to starting off on the right foot. You can do this by simply sending an email introducing yourself and asking what to expect for the first day (eg, when to arrive, where to park, expected dress code, required documents, and whether there are any pre-readings or assignments you must complete before starting your rotation).

2. Be Prepared and Organized

Before I started my rotations, I made sure I was familiar with navigating drug reference websites such as Lexicomp, Micromedex, and UpToDate. That allowed me to know which drug reference to use when I was asked a question. I also created a folder on my phone that contained these resources, making referencing them fast and easy. I also had a folder of necessary documents in my bag for expediting the onboarding process.

Keep a mini notebook in your white coat to write down quick notes. This made it easy so I could reference them when completing tasks. This also helped me to become familiar with the software system, helping me complete tasks and projects efficiently. If you know your preceptor has a clinical specialty, be sure to review your notes from class or do research to gain some background information about the field.

3. Keep It Professional

We have heard time and time again that pharmacy is a small world. In order to make a good impression, make sure you:

  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlier than scheduled
  • Adhere to the dress code
  • Respect all team members and patients
  • Be flexible and open to learning new things and taking on new responsibilities
  • Adhere to deadlines for any assigned tasks or projects

About The Author

Zubia Farooqui is a second-year pharmacy student at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois. She is the vice president of the patient care projects for her school’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists.

4. Ask for Help

For many, this might be the first time you have been in a retail or hospital setting. This can come with questions and concerns as you are navigating a new environment. Never hesitate to ask questions; your preceptor and pharmacy team are there to help you learn. If you don’t ask for help, you could potentially be putting a patient’s life at risk.

5. Keep a Positive Attitude

Keep a positive attitude and treat everyone with kindness to really make an impact on the pharmacy team and patients. The preceptor and their team members are there to contribute to your educational journey and help you develop skills that will eventually make you a successful pharmacist.

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