Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Factors Associated with Students' Perception of Preceptor Excellence

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Factors Associated with Students' Perception of Preceptor Excellence

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The need for high-quality experiential education has increased significantly since the adoption of the doctorof pharmacy (PharmD) degree. (1) Since fall of 2001, student pharmacist enrollment has increased for 11 consecutive years. (2) As of July 2013, there were 129 accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy and 1 college of pharmacy with precandidate status. In 2007, advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) were extended to a minimum of 1440 hours and introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs) were increased to 300 hours. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) also requires the orientation and continuous development of preceptors, (3) and some state boards of pharmacy require preceptor training for preceptor licensing. For example, at least 3 hours of preceptor training provided by an ACPE-approved provider within the previous 2 years or within the license renewal period is required for preceptor certification in Texas. (4) The increase in the number of colleges and schools of pharmacy, changes in required hours for experiential education, state board requirements, and required preceptor training all highlight the necessity of trained preceptors to assume the role of mentor, evaluator, and teacher. (5)

While the qualifications of a preceptor have been defined in the literature and other health professions have attempted to identify qualities of effective preceptors, these factors are not clearly defined in the pharmacy education literature. One study identified 5 attributes of an effective preceptor by evaluating the reflective journals of second-year medical students. These characteristics included demonstrating professional expertise, actively engaging students, fostering a positive environment for learning, demonstrating collegiality, and discussing career-related topics and concerns with students. (6) In another study, medical students and residents ranked the following as the top 5 preceptor behaviors: being open to questions, giving constructive feedback, demonstrating enthusiasm, reviewing differential diagnoses, and delegating patient care responsibilities. (7) In a review of the literature on preceptor development for nurses, a preceptor is defined as an experienced, knowledgeable professional who guides students to think critically and is required to be supportive and nurturing. (8) According to the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), a quality experiential practice experience involves outcomes-focused training with adequate supervision by a qualified preceptor. A qualified preceptor is further defined as having appropriate credentials for the practice setting (ie, residency training, board certification) and displaying characteristics of professionalism, mentorship, and empathy for patients. (9) Training of preceptors is required by ACPE and encouraged by pharmacy organizations, and studies have shown a benefit from preceptor training and development programs. (10,11) The American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, for instance, offer preceptor orientation and training programs to members to improve experiential education, placing emphasis on having qualified preceptors. (12,13)

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) has identified preceptor development as a significant element of quality experiential education, and the need for this training has been identified. (9) In one study evaluating the development needs of volunteer pharmacy preceptors, most preceptors (78.4%) indicated that they had previous preceptor training, but 73.5% indicated they would like to have additional training. (10) In another study in which pharmacy student evaluations were compared to preceptor self-evaluations in Thailand, preceptors were found to overrate their performance of key teaching characteristics, such as providing feedback, in comparison with student perceptions. Moreover, all preceptors stated that they did well in giving their students opportunities to ask questions and provide open discussion whereas only 70% of students indicated that their respective preceptors did well in this teaching behavior. …

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