Tip of the Week: Utilize a Job Analysis for Precepting Future Pharmacists

Pharmacy managers should have recommendations for how staff pharmacists and even technicians will improve the education and mentoring of future pharmacists.

One of the most important contributions we can make as pharmacists is serving as a preceptor to future pharmacists. Although the benefits seem obvious, they should not be overlooked. Obviously, precepting allows you to give back to your alma mater or perhaps to another educational institution that is serving the community. You are serving as an educator, which complements your role as an educator of patients and other health care professionals. You are assisting with the professional socialization and with instilling the right mix of skills, attitudes, knowledge, and behavior for the next generation of pharmacists; and you will undoubtedly as any other mentor pick up some things along the way from these students that will help sharpen yourpractice.

Like any other aspect of practice management, there are best practices to follow when precepting. A job analysis provides a detailed explanation of the responsibilities of a job and the behaviors required to perform it well. It provides an excellent roadmap for supervisors and employees and also serves as the basis for recruiting employees and for providing performance feedback.

Precepting a student is an incredibly important job and can take up quite a bit of time and resources for a supervisor and organization. To investigate further, researchers Jordan T. DeAngelis, PharmD, and Michael D. Wolcott, PharmD, performed and described a detailed job analysis for the role of pharmacy preceptor.1 The researchers gathered input from local pharmacist preceptors then created an inventory that included 2 tasks divided among 9 overall domains. Pharmacist preceptors then completed the task inventory questionnaire.

The 3 most critical domains were professionalism, communication, and interpersonal skills. The 3 most critical tasks related to professionalism were maintaining composure in stressful situations, demonstrating a commitment to service and the profession, and engaging in sound ethical and moral decision-making. Other tasks were noted as having high importance and performed with high frequency, such as facilitating conflict management, motivating students, and performing periodic self-assessment and reflection. Other tasks deemed important but performed less frequently included presenting a session at interprofessional conferences and maintaining board certification, and still more tasks included working beyond typical hours for precepting, sharing information about yourself with the learner, and complete site-required documentation for the learner.

The results yield some important findings. It did not provide a “recipe book” of tasks that have to be performed, as this will depend greatly on the nature of the site and what it does. Rather, the research provides an overview of overarching behaviors to role model for students who are being precepted in hopes of their professional socialization and paying it forward when they have an opportunity to precept in the future. Pharmacy managers should have a policy, or at least recommendations for how staff pharmacists and even technicians will comport themselves and what they will do to improve the education and mentoring of future pharmacists. A job analysis is one way to get that done.

Additional information about Human Resources Management Functions can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

REFERENCE

DeAngelis JT, Wolcott MD. A job analysis to define the role of the pharmacy preceptor. Am J Pharm Educ. 2019;83(7): Article 7196.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at the Touro University California College of Pharmacy.