Pearls for precepting
For many, one of the most exciting aspects of transitioning from student to New Practitioner is preceptorship. While exciting, this can be an intimidating transition, especially for those who are freshly graduated and taking on PGY1 residency roles that have student precepting opportunities. After a year of precepting, I have important lessons that have transformed how I operate as a New Practitioner preceptor.
1. Creating a hospitable learning environment
A cornerstone of effective teaching is that the learner should feel engaged and supported throughout the learning process. A key way to start off positively is to make sure there is a hospitable learning environment that will help the learner to grow. Environments that are overly harsh can be discouraging to learners and can demotivate them, turning them into less effective learners. Creating a space where they can grow without judgment helps learners to understand what they are doing well and what areas they can continue to improve without feeling discouraged.
2. Adapting to your learner
Every learner is a different, unique person. It is important to treat them as such. A key pitfall for new preceptors is developing a “one size fits all” approach to precepting. This methodology could set learners up for failure. Take time to discuss with your student how they learn best and assess for any potential barriers. Understand that how you learn best may not be in line with how they will most effectively learn on the rotation. Be adaptable and take time to adjust teaching methodology based on the learner’s individual needs.
3. Learning is a two-way street
While the role of a preceptor is to impart clinical and operational knowledge, this does not mean that the relationship is purely one-sided. Believing that the preceptor–learner relationship has unidirectional information flow can cause a preceptor to be closed off to opportunities for growth. Learners can teach their preceptors how to be a more effective, important life lessons, and even clinical pearls. This is one of my most important takeaways. I realize that my clinical knowledge is not perfect, and that it is entirely possible for a learner to know about a study that I have not read that could inform clinical practice. Since every learner is unique, they can teach you different lessons. With each learner, I felt as though I was becoming a more effective and impactful preceptor.
Precepting is a new journey for New Practitioners. Going into each precepting experience with an open mind will allow for optimal growth. Embrace this period of self-development, as it is for the benefit of yourself and the future of the pharmacy profession.
Austin Green, PharmD, MPH, AAHIVP, is a PGY1 Ambulatory Care/HIV Pharmacy Resident at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, CA. Outside of residency, he loves to travel the world, try new foods, and explore the outdoors.