Wondering if you should become a preceptor? Here is what you need to know.

If you are thinking about becoming a preceptor, we ask you to consider the following before you take on the challenge.

Why Should You Precept in the First Place?

What motivates others to become preceptors? There are right reasons to precept. And there are wrong reasons. Here are a few of both. 

The Right Reasons  The Wrong Reasons 
Because you want to influence future pharmacists Because your manager wants you to. 
Because you have skills that you believe you could teach well to others. Because the person who was in your position before you was a preceptor.
Because you have an internal desire to help other pharmacists learn how to take care of patients in your specialty area. Because you like the benefits from the school.
Because you want to give back to the profession. Because it looks good on your curriculum vitae or resume.
Because you remember the value you got from your preceptors and want to provide the same value to today’s students. Because you could use some help when it gets busy.
Because you feel that bringing students into your practice site will extend your reach and increase the ability to provide quality patient care. Because you are loyal to your alma mater.
Reference: Doty RE. Getting Started as a Pharmacy Preceptor. Washington, DC: American Pharmacists Association; 2011.  

 

More Reasons You Should Precept

Still not convinced you should precept? Precepting can benefit you and your pharmacy site overall in even more ways. You can:

  • Attain personal satisfaction and professional growth.
  • Give back to the profession.
  • Introduce student to “real world” experiences.
  • Involve students in developing and maintaining new or expanded clinical services.
  • Keep abreast of current medications and treatment modalities.
  • Meet potential new employees.
  • Participate in the evolution of the profession.
  • Participate in the training of future pharmacists.
  • Receive recognition and awards for good precepting.
  • Receive academic appointments in the school.
  • Receive material rewards (schools may offer benefits such as free continuing education, preceptor training, stipends, tuition credit, drug information, electronic resource access).

When you precept, your site benefits greatly too. Because of your work, students can:

  • Develop pharmaceutical care programs 
  • Educate patients and provide patient-focused activities
  • Identify drug-related problems
  • Improve patient services and outcomes
  • Provide therapeutic alternatives
  • Reduce drug expenditures

Sites can also use precepting as a recruitment tool and reduce advertisement costs. 

Reference: Skrabal MZ, Kahaleh AA, Nemire RE, et al. Preceptors’ perspectives on benefits of precepting student pharmacists to students, preceptors, and the profession. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2006;46(5):605-12.

Top 10 Preceptor Behaviors

The following 10 behaviors are what distinguish exceptional preceptors:

  1.  Is open to questions
  2. Gives constructive feedback
  3. Demonstrates enthusiasm for teaching
  4. Reviews differential diagnosis
  5. Delegates appropriate responsibility for patient care
  6. Gives timely feedback
  7. Has a strong command of his or her specialty
  8. Discusses clinical topics in an organized way
  9. Makes student feel like a valued member of the practice
  10. Identifies and responds to the student’s specific learning needs

Reference: Skrabal MZ, Kahaleh AA, Nemire RE, et al. Preceptors’ perspectives on benefits of precepting student pharmacists to students, preceptors, and the profession. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2006;46(5):605-12.

Traits of a Professional

Effective preceptors possess certain professional traits that they apply to the field of pharmacy. Does this sound like you?

Professional preceptors:

  1. Posses the knowledge and have the skills required of the profession
  2. Are committed to self-improvement
  3. Are service-oriented
  4. Take pride in the profession
  5. Have covenantal relationships with clients
  6. Are creative and innovative 
  7. Are conscientious and trustworthy
  8. Are accountable for their own work
  9. Make ethically sound decisions
  10. Are capable leaders

Reference: APhA-ASP/AACP-COD Task Force on Professionalism. White paper on pharmacy student professionalism. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2000: 40:96–102.

If you are ready to become a preceptor for the School of Pharmacy, please submit your preceptor application. If you have any questions about the application process, please call or email the Office of Experiential Education.