Become a Preceptor and Help Shape Pharmacy's FutureAs you know, experience is an invaluable educator. Student pharmacists need real-world experiences to practice and apply the skills they study in the classroom. That’s always been the case—and it’s truer than ever in today’s health care environment. As demand for patient-centered care grows, the empathy, compassion, and sense of responsibility that’s always been at the heart of our profession becomes increasingly important.
Practicing pharmacists like you can teach those vital qualities like no one else can. We call pharmacists who share their worldview with students “preceptors,” but don’t let the austere title fool you. As a St. Louis College of Pharmacy preceptor, you’ll be helping shape our profession’s future by instilling in our students the habits, values, and attitudes of a pharmacist who makes a difference.
You may think that’s a pretty tall order. It is. But part of it you’ll do naturally, simply by practicing your profession. Do what you normally do, show the care and responsibility you regularly provide your patients, and the students will pick it up. While being a role model can be a strikingly effective teaching method, other teaching roles are more structured. As a preceptor, you’ll offer student pharmacists direct instruction—teach them a process or direct them to published research they’ll find helpful. You’ll also be their coach, at times, guiding your students through tasks with suggestions and advice. You may act as a facilitator as well, asking your students to complete tasks on their own but encouraging them with questions and feedback to learn through those activities. You’ll need to plan hands-on learning activities for your student pharmacists, ranging from preparing patient profiles to dispensing medication or conducting patient consultations. In short, you’ll be a role model, mentor, and teacher all rolled into one—and an enormous influence on future pharmacists.
For all that, precepting is a two-way street. You’ll see the practical benefits right away, as your student pharmacists contribute to day-to-day operations. But there’s more to it than that. As you advance the profession by helping train the next generation of pharmacists, you may advance your own career by keeping abreast of new developments in pharmacy through your contact with students. And here at STLCOP, we offer our preceptors a broad array of professional development opportunities, as well as access to online library resources. You’ll also receive an adjunct faculty appointment as a preceptor.
Interested? Contact Tricia Berry or call our experiential programs office at 314.446.8523. You’ll need to complete some paperwork—providing information on your preceptor credentials, patient population data, and anticipated student activities—but we’ll help and support you as we work together to make a difference.