The resident shall be precepted by qualified pharmacists or, in the case of learning experiences in pharmacy operations, qualified pharmacy technicians who have the experience, desire and aptitude to teach.
- A preceptor shall have the knowledge, skills and practice experience to act as a role model and to assist in the development of the resident’s skills.
- A primary preceptor shall be designated for each rotation.
- Time shall be allocated for instruction, observation and assessment of the resident in each rotation.
- The preceptor shall review and confirm learning goals and objectives with the resident at the beginning of the rotation.
- The preceptor shall provide timely and regular feedback to, and assessment of, the resident.
- The preceptor shall be committed to self-assessment and making active use of constructive feedback provided by the Resident, Coordinator, Program Director, and (where applicable) other preceptors.
Our resident preceptors are prepared, supported, and recognized for their contributions to our residents’ development.
Effective preceptors aren’t born, but they can be made. Although the skills required for effective precepting take years to hone, several launching points are provided here. Taking the time to invest in your own learning and reflection about being an effective preceptor can pay big dividends in terms of resident learning, your satisfaction with precepting, and integrating precepting with your daily workflow.
Consider the four preceptor roles (direct instruction, modeling, coaching and facilitating) and when to use them. The roles are sequential in nature, but consider each resident individually, their learning style/needs, their experience/skills to date and which role might be most beneficial for your resident. Review ASHP’s “Starring Roles: The four preceptor roles and when to use them”
Asking the Right Questions
The questions preceptors ask are a key to leading residents to deeper understanding. Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used to help you ask the RIGHT questions to get beyond “testing” for Knowledge and Comprehension to where we want our residents to be: Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. See Asking the Right Questions and Powerful Questions.
Also consider the Socratic Questioning vs Pimping teaching strategies and reviewing the article Teaching How to Think Is Just as Important as Teaching Anything Else.
Establish this from day 1 of your rotation. Ask your resident for permission to provide feedback and that you, too would like feedback in return. Then set aside time EACH day to do so. See “Beyond Praise in Public - Systematic Approaches to Feedback” presented at the 2014 ASHP NPPC and Giving Feedback to Residents. Consider the GROW model and the SBIR method.
Resources to Develop Your Precepting Skills
- UBC Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development - Preceptor Resources
- ASHP Preceptors Tool Kit See the section on Teaching Strategies
- Preceptor Education Program (PEP) for Health Professionals and Students - An excellent Ontario-based preceptorship course.
- Preceptor Resource Guide: Supporting Clinical Learning - An excellent handbook for clinical preceptors developed by VCH Learning & Career Development. Required reading for all new resident preceptors.
- The 1-Minute Preceptor - A classic framework for precepting embraced by clinicians around the world.
Advanced Precepting: resources & Tools for Self-Evaluation and Reflection
- Precepting-Coaching Assessment Tool - Thanks to Helen Roberts for this.
- Teaching Perspectives Inventory - This will get you thinking about whether your espoused beliefs about what makes good teaching/precepting jive with your actual practices. Thanks to Dr. Daniel Pratt for this.
- ”Preceptor's Handbook for Pharmacists” by Lourdes M. Cuellar and Diane B. Ginsburg
- "Letters to a Young Pharmacist: Sage Advice on Life & Career from Extraordinary Pharmacists" by Susan Cantrell, Sara J. White and Bruce E. Scott
Toxic Preceptor Behaviors
Even veteran preceptors are sometimes guilty of these “toxic” behaviours known to hinder student/resident learning. Reflect on these, consider whether you are guilty of any.
Toxic Preceptor Behaviors:
- Allow/make the resident feel disrespected or demeaned through words you say, tone of voice, ignoring them. This is the most effective way to short-circuit learning, demotivating the resident, and make the precepting experience unrewarding.
- Fail to consistently provide positive feedback about activities done well and learning having occurred. Need help? Recognize when learning has occurred and acknowledge it. (eg. "It seems that you now have a good understanding of how ACE-Inhibitors can affect hemodynamics in a way that is useful for understanding how they can affect renal function. Remember a couple of days ago when that was really a struggle for you? You've come a long way.") "Precepting Through the Eyes of a Coach" can help here.
- Teach, teach, teach, talk, talk, talk. Fail to give residents time to articular their own understanding and explore connections between ideas, facts, and concepts. Need help? Learn the difference between when you need to ask good questions and lead the resident to deeper understanding (most situations) vs. when you need to teach (ie. transmit information for supposed absorption by resident) (occasionally, infrequently). Precepting is more about guiding than teaching. "Precepting Through the Eyes of a Coach" can help here.
- Ask useless or uninspired questions that seem to emphasize "trivia" and recall rather than understanding and synthesis. Need help? Check out Asking the Right Questions and Powerful Questions.