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Precepting: It’s your professional responsibility

February 21, 2018

If you’re a pharmacy professional and haven’t thought about being a preceptor before, now is a good time to start. Precepting is an excellent opportunity for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to give back to the professions in the form of mentoring the next generation. In fact, as stated in the Alberta College of Pharmacists’ Code of Ethics, it’s your responsibility to nurture the profession. One of the ways to do that is to be a preceptor for a student or a provisional registrant in ACP’s Structured Practical Training program.

“As pharmacy professionals, it’s our duty to help those who are new to the profession and help guide them in understanding what it means to be a pharmacy professional,” said ACP Deputy Registrar Kaye Moran. “What does being a pharmacy professional look like? How do you take all the knowledge and skills that you are learning in a classroom or simulated environment and apply them in a real-life practice setting? Students are pondering these questions and preceptors can provide the answers through instruction and by example.”

Kaye says that while educational institutions do an excellent job in training future pharmacy professionals and making their learning as practical as possible, there is no substitute for learning at actual practice sites.

“Students need to be able to see how people deal with the real-life pressures on their team and how they address everything they need to address,” she said. “Learning strategies, tips, and tools professionals use are beneficial.”

Preceptors can also get a lot out of the experience. You might even learn a thing or two yourself.

“Precepting can cause you as a practitioner to stop and reflect on why you do things the way you do,” said Kaye. “A student could ask a preceptor a very simple question about something the preceptor has done so many times for so many years. It’s a good time to consider another way of doing something. It can also be helpful to have somebody new available who wants to learn from you. That can be inspiring. Working with students can help you keep up to date about new resources you may not have known existed. And students can also be helpful in practice environments. There may be a project that you want to get to and often students are eager to help with those things. Project work is a good learning opportunity for them, too.”

For the next few weeks in the Link, we will share information about opportunities to become preceptors for University of Alberta pharmacy students, pharmacy technician students, and provisional registrants in the Structured Practical Training program.