Pharmacy Student Preceptor Issues

Pharmacy Program Challenges

Pharmacy programs are necessarily rigorous. Pharmacists dispense controlled substances that, while therapeutic, can be dangerous or even deadly. Pharmacy programs must ensure that students have the requisite knowledge, skills, and professional character to manage practice risks responsibly. The rigor of a pharmacy program can contribute to several kinds of pharmacy student issues, including academic misconduct charges relating to questionable practices in coursework, academic progression issues when circumstances interfere with a student's ability to complete academic work on time, and at the level the school requires, and professionalism issues when the student begins pharmacy practice in clinical settings under the keen eye of clinical preceptors. Those issues can lead a pharmacy student to the point of facing program dismissal. Retain national school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento to help you overcome misconduct charges and other program issues. Your pharmacy education and career are worth it.

Pharmacy Program Preceptor Issues

One of the biggest challenges to a pharmacy program is satisfying the preceptors who supervise your clinical training. Clinical training is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Putting your pharmacy education into practice in a clinical setting can be the first time you expose medical patients to pharmaceutical risks. Preceptors must watch your practice very closely. Preceptors may document each and every alleged deficiency in your clinical practice, especially if they question your ability or commitment and feel that they need to build a file toward your program dismissal. Clinical preceptors are also human, with all the common human biases and frailties. Preceptors can run into personality conflicts, misunderstandings, and disputes with the students they supervise. Preceptor evaluations can also be harsh, unfair, and unduly subjective. Even when their evaluations are accurate and fair, you may have explanations for why those evaluations do not reflect your incompetence or incapability to meet pharmacy standards. Don't let preceptor issues derail your pharmacy education and career. Retain national school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento to help you raise, address, and overcome preceptor issues.

Pharmacy Preceptor Training and Qualification

Sometimes, the source of a pharmacy student's clinical training issue isn't the student's own qualifications, commitment, or performance. Sometimes, the problem is with the preceptor. The American Pharmacists Association recognizes the need to improve the training and qualifications of pharmacy preceptors. The Association supports a Preceptor Special Interest Group focused on “precepting strategies, precepting challenges and solutions, and opportunities for preceptor growth and development.” The Association also offers a Precepting 101 guide for new or stumbling preceptors, the final point of which is for preceptors to conduct their own regular precepting review and development. The Association also touts Advanced Preceptor Training, the goal of which is “to provide a formal curriculum for preceptors at all practice sites who interact with student pharmacists and residents.” These and other efforts recognize that precepting is both a science and art, requiring its own skill and training. Unfortunately, some preceptors ignore that skill and training, feeling instead that their abundant clinical skills and experience are enough. Some preceptors just don't know how to help pharmacy students learn how to practice. They instead wing it. Retain national school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento if your pharmacy program challenges are due to an unqualified preceptor's evaluations.

Preceptor Selection and Supervision

Colleges of pharmacy attempt to ensure that only qualified preceptors supervise their students in clinical settings. The University of Minnesota's College of Pharmacy is an example, requiring preceptor candidates to apply, write a personal statement, and sign an affiliation agreement while offering preceptor resources and development opportunities. The University of Buffalo's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences follows a similar procedure for appointing and qualifying preceptors. Yet under procedures like these, preceptors may supervise students without having qualified as a clinical faculty member. Some senior preceptors may earn that honor of clinical faculty appointment, but your preceptor is just as likely a practitioner without substantial training in teaching and supervising students. And some pharmacy schools accept preceptors with as little as a single year of experience. Your preceptor may only have a license and one year of full-time pharmacy practice. Even states that license pharmacy preceptors, like Michigan under Admin. Code R. 338.517 may require nothing more. You have good reason to trust your preceptor's clinical skill and judgment. But if you have preceptor problems, then you already know to question your preceptor's teaching, training, and evaluation skills. You may bear responsibility for your preceptor issues. But so may your preceptor. And your pharmacy school may know it or need to learn it. Retain national school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento when you need to show your school of pharmacy that it has employed an unqualified preceptor whose evaluations are damaging your education.

What to Expect from Your Pharmacy Preceptor

The Clinical Pharmacy Education, Practice, and Research text states that the number one thing you have the right to expect from your pharmacy preceptor is a productive learning experience. That doesn't necessarily mean handholding like your classroom professors. On the contrary, a preceptor's role differs from the role of full-time classroom instructors. They are not generally teaching knowledge and practice structures. They are instead helping you apply those structures in the exercise of ordinary professional skills. You need to recognize and respect that difference in roles. But preceptors should be skilled and even experts in providing you with constructive feedback. Helpful, guiding feedback is, after all, their primary role. Of course, preceptors play a role in protecting patients from pharmacy student mistakes. But their precepting is also to shape your practice, not just to condemn your mistakes. And for feedback to be effective, it must generally disclose objective standards against which it measures your performance. Condemning your clinical practice as poor, bad, or incompetent isn't enough if it doesn't, at the same time, state the objective measure you can meet with improved performance. Retain national school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento to help you identify the issues with your preceptor and evaluations to show your pharmacy school that you can stay on track.

What Your Preceptor Should Expect from You

To overcome your preceptor problem, you will very likely need to make a good case with your pharmacy school's director of clinical education that you are performing as a responsible preceptor should expect. That standard doesn't mean that your practice must be perfect. Pharmacy students naturally enter clinical training with uncertainty over how to apply their abundant new knowledge and burgeoning skills. But you still need to show your readiness for that clinical training in several areas. Generally, you'll need to show your clinical program director that despite your preceptor problems, you had at least adequate and preferably complete, comprehensive, and strong:

  • Knowledge of human physiology and physiological responses to medical and pharmaceutical intervention
  • Knowledge of chemistry, chemical processes, and the interaction of pharmaceutical products with human physiology
  • Clinical problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, and the capacity to develop sound clinical judgment
  • Understanding of applicable medical and pharmaceutical standards and regulations
  • Commitment to precision, orderliness, and detail in all professional matters and communications
  • Competence in documentation using computer software and systems for recordkeeping, billing, consent, and compliance
  • Empathy for patients and the interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills to express empathy
  • Commitment to quality, effectiveness, and continuous professional development and improvement of knowledge and skills
  • Sound ethics, acceptable professional demeanor, and good professional character, including sensitivity for institutional and professional norms

Meeting Clinical Training Requirements

You already know that your school of pharmacy encourages or requires clinical training under qualified preceptors, or you wouldn't be facing preceptor problems. In that sense, preceptors can be gatekeepers to your doctoral degree in pharmacy, your licensure as a pharmacist, and your pharmacy income and career. Bad evaluations from your preceptor can derail your pharmacy education and career. Don't let bad evaluations go. If you cannot address them to your preceptor's satisfaction and you have questions about your preceptor's evaluation and supervision skills, raise those concerns with the director of your school's clinical program. The director may already know of the preceptor's limited supervision skills and may remove, ignore, or adjust the evaluation so that it does not affect your good standing. You may also get a new clinical assignment or preceptor. If that effort doesn't get your education back on course, or you are unsure how to go about requesting that review, and the preceptor's evaluation threatens your academic probation, suspension, and expulsion, retain national school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento for more effective action. No single problem preceptor should be the gatekeeper to your future.

Other Preceptor Problems

Sometimes, though, a pharmacy student's preceptor problems are not with the subjectivity and unfairness of the preceptor's evaluations. Pharmacy students can also face interpersonal issues with their preceptors. Preceptors, like other practicing pharmacists, can have personal quirks and problems that manifest themselves in a student's clinical supervision and training. Those problems can include alcohol, drug, pornography, or gambling addictions, mental and emotional disabilities or instability, and inappropriate relational and sexual interests. Unstable or unqualified preceptors may use their supervisory authority to attempt to manipulate students into overlooking their problems and submitting to their unreasonable or offensive requests or demands. While you should expect your pharmacy school to act quickly and responsibly to correct any such conditions as soon as you report them, fixing preceptor problems is not your responsibility. Don't let the manipulation, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation of a disordered preceptor threaten your pharmacy education. In any such case, promptly enlist the help of a skilled and experienced outside defense advisor.

When Preceptors Fail Their Students

Unfortunately, preceptors sometimes fail their students rather than students failing their preceptors. The National Library of Medicine publishes an article in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education by the above title. The article recounts the experience of a long-time clinical pharmacist with substantial experience precepting pharmacy students. The author frankly acknowledges that pharmacy preceptors can, at times, fail their students because of their own disenchantment with their pharmacy careers. The author concludes, “Not all pharmacists are happy in their current jobs, and some unhappy pharmacists serve as preceptors. Some of these preceptors believe that if they are not happy and have neither the imagination nor wherewithal to address their particular situation, then the students they precept will never be able to either. These pharmacists are wrong, and they are wrong to transfer their frustrations and failures onto the next generation of pharmacy school graduates.” The author urges the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to study the preceptor problem, pharmacy schools to hold preceptors accountable through their preceptor affiliation agreements, and pharmacy schools to remove unqualified preceptors. None of that is your responsibility. You may just be the unlucky student whose unfortunate experience is necessary for your school to address its preceptor problem.

Premier Defense Advisor Available at Your Pharmacy School

Preceptor problems can be the student's responsibility, the preceptor's problem, or a combination of both. No matter the cause of your preceptor issue, solutions are very likely available to you. You just need qualified outside professional guidance and help to diagnose and address your preceptor problem. National school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento is available for your winning representation at your pharmacy school, no matter the nature of your preceptor problems. Advisor Lento has successfully represented hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, and professional program students, including pharmacy students, nationwide, in all kinds of disputes, including preceptor disputes. Advisor Lento has the substantial skills and experience in school discipline defense for your winning representation. Don't retain an unqualified local defense attorney who lacks the required knowledge of academic customs and administrative procedures. Instead, get the premier representation that your substantial investment in your pharmacy education and career deserves. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now, or use the online service.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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