Letters on Precepting: Dear Pharmacy Students…(Part 2)

by Amy Smith, as part of her Green Oncology series

The Issue:

In a previous posting, I focused on qualities I admire in pharmacy preceptors.  However, on the other side of the precepting equation is the pharmacy student.  Once again a student myself, I am actively reflecting on the qualities I wish to embody to achieve the best possible learning experience.  Below are some characteristics I hope to display and hope other students will as well.  So to finish this two part series…Dear Pharmacy Students… 

The Advice:

1)      Be respectful

Preceptors feel a professional obligation to assist in educating future pharmacists.  Show you value their efforts and time.  As a young professional, in order to be respected, you first need to give respect.  Think of yourself as a guest at each institution you visit.  Smile.  Be on time. Remember peoples’ names. Even when challenged with a demanding preceptor, maintain a respectful approach.       

2)      Take initiative and work hard

The world of pharmacy is small.  These pharmacists are preceptors for the moment but quickly you will be looking to the same people for employment.  Treat your experiential training as an extended job interview.  Volunteer and take on additional responsibilities.  Try to leave each patient, preceptor, and institution with a lasting positive impression.     

3)      Put patient care first

At the end of the day we are all doing our best to care for patients.  Keep the wellbeing of your patients above all else.  Patient care is your opportunity to show you are a professional who can handle responsibility.  You will not be faulted, if you are putting your patients first. 

The Bottom Line:

I recall, after one particularly difficult rotation, reflecting with a trusted mentor.  After airing my concerns, I was advised that “a lot can be learned from a bad experience.”  Each rotation, good or bad, provides an opportunity to learn.

Put patient care first, work hard, and maintain a respectful approach and you will learn a tremendous amount and be satisfied with your own demeanor.  The more you apply these principles, the more enjoyable the experience will be for you.    

Amy Smith is a graduate of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan.  After completing a hospital residency program with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, Amy began working with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency in Saskatoon as a pediatric oncology pharmacist. 

She is now attending the U of T post-baccalaureate PharmD program . During her time away from work, Amy enjoys traveling, volunteering and participating in a various athletics including powerlifting and running. Amy is a member of CAPhO's Communication Committee. 

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