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Is it your time to SHINE?

September 8, 2009

Want to influence the future of pharmacy, educate and empower inner city youth, and re-energize your own practice in only 3 or 4 afternoons a year? Well, you can!

The SHINE Youth Clinic provides free health services to Edmonton’s inner-city youth. The clinic is managed and staffed by U of A students from Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Social Work, and Nutrition. But they need you to precept.

“Let me tell you about my last shift,” enthuses Lisa Guirguis, a SHINE preceptor. “A pharmacy-medicine student team took a patient health history – and the pharmacy student led the interview. Another pharmacy student checked a medication history with a community pharmacy and that determined the treatment decision. Then the pharmacy student helped identify a suitable antibiotic from the available stock for a penicillin allergy. This student then worked with a medical student to have the medical student write her first prescription. That was all before talking with the patient about how to best use the medication. All in one shift! These students are building skills and making a positive difference. It’s really exciting to be part of that.”

For more details, or to apply, go to and click on Apply to be a Preceptor Today or email Serena or Dapheni at

Qualifications, commitment, and rewards

By volunteering at the clinic, students polish their clinical skills and see first-hand the importance of patient education, harm reduction and preventative medicine.

The clinic is held in the Boyle McCauley Health Centre on Saturdays from 2-6 pm.

A preceptor…

  • Provides guidance – Students take patient histories, provide advice on medical treatment, and dispense available medications. The preceptor ensures quality care is given to the patient and directs the students as necessary. You would provide direct guidance to 1-2 pharmacy students.
  • Gently “pushes” – Students may volunteer at any time during their education. This means they have varying levels of training and confidence. A big part of your job will be to encourage students to participate in the unfamiliar.
  • Models communication – Students will learn by watching you talk with patients, and other students and preceptors from all disciplines. “Learning by example” is one of the strengths of this experience.
  • Sets their own level of commitment – Preceptors can participate as per their own availability; a typical commitment is at least four shifts per year (but more is great!). A shift lasts 4 hours, from 2:00-6:00pm.
  • Catches the contagious energy – A small commitment returns huge rewards. Helping students turn theory into reality, experiencing interprofessional collaboration at its best, and seeing the difference just four hours of care can make in an underserved community leaves all participants with a renewed energy and satisfaction.

For more details, or to apply, go to and click on Apply to be a Preceptor Today or email Serena or Dapheni at

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link