Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Job and Career Satisfaction among Pharmacy Preceptors

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Job and Career Satisfaction among Pharmacy Preceptors

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs) and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) are critical components of modern pharmacy education and training. The standards of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) require that IPPEs and APPEs comprise a minimum of 5% (300 hours) and 25% (1440 hours) of the PharmD curriculum, respectively. (1) This experiential education mandate means that all 119 accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy (2) must identify and recruit significantly larger numbers of pharmacist preceptors in various practice settings to provide accredited training for student pharmacists.

The process of providing training to student pharmacists may result in tangible and intangible rewards to pharmacist preceptors. Possible tangible benefits include money (pay per student), reference materials furnished by the college or school of pharmacy for site use, various forms of appreciation events, support for continuing education and professional development, academic title, and preceptor license reimbursement. However, the less tangible benefits may, in fact, be more important to pharmacist preceptors. (3,4) The perceived benefit of precepting student pharmacists has been explored in the literature but only to a limited extent. (3,5,6) Additional studies that provide greater understanding of pharmacists' perceptions regarding the intangible rewards of precepting would be of great value in recruiting and retaining preceptors.

Educating students and influencing the professionalization process of new practitioners is clearly an opportunity for preceptors to engage in professional activities, but it is also a likely source of professional job satisfaction. In contrast to some components of professional practice, which may be possible only within institutional settings, the professional function of preceptorship is one in which pharmacists in any practice setting can participate. This is especially important in light of a report noting a significant shortage of willing preceptors, despite the benefits to the profession, the student, and the preceptor. (5) Although the pharmacist vacancy rate has fallen from 8% in 2000 to 5% in 2004, a substantial growth in supply is still needed over the next 2 decades to meet the projected surge in demand for pharmacy services in the US healthcare system. (7) The need for pharmacists, which continues to grow faster than the average for all other occupations, is expected to increase by 17% between 2008 and 2018. (8) As of October 2010, the national demand for pharmacists was still moderate (3.4 on a 5-point scale on which 1 = high surplus to 5 = high demand). (9) The need to replace pharmacists leaving the occupation and the limited capacity of training programs are the factors still fueling the pharmacy workforce shortage. Results of a 2008 survey from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists showed that the rate of pharmacist turnover reached 8.6%, a 1% rise from the previous year. (10) Costs related to pharmacist turnover were as high as $89,000 per pharmacist in 2005 dollars. (11) Therefore, providing rewards and satisfying experiences for pharmacists is increasingly important in retaining valuable professionals.

Job and career satisfaction are latent concepts that cannot be measured directly. Employees' perception of their work determines their level of job satisfaction. In 1976, Locke defined job satisfaction as, a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experiences." (12) While job satisfaction provides a measure of job-specific affect, career satisfaction represents individuals' feelings toward their selected professions, or the accumulated work-related experiences and activities over an entire career. (6,13)

Job and career satisfaction are recognized to relate to happiness with a pharmacist's worklife. (14) High satisfaction benefits employers because satisfied employees are less likely to change jobs. …

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