Shaping the Future of Pharmacy
Experiential education is a core component of a pharmacist’s training. Through experiential rotations each year, student pharmacists at St. Louis College of Pharmacy at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis develop as professionals and use the knowledge they gain in the classroom in hands-on pharmacy practice experiences under the guidance of licensed pharmacist preceptors.
AN EXTENSIVE PRECEPTOR NETWORK
With rotation sites throughout 42 states, the nation’s capital, and 12 countries across three continents, students gain insight into the breadth of opportunities within pharmacy. Preceptors and their teams play a vital role in advancing students’ learning and personal and professional growth, allowing them to explore new career possibilities.
“Time and again, students tell us that great preceptors are the ones who take time to sit down with them and talk through how their rotation impacts their education and how to navigate the many career paths pharmacy has to offer,” said Nicole Gattas, Pharm.D., FAPhA, BCPS, director of experiential education and professor of pharmacy practice at the University.
UHSP preceptors receive access to numerous library resources and continuing professional development opportunities. Additionally, preceptors benefit from the staff support students provide, which allows them to be more efficient and effective in their work. But Gattas notes the benefits don’t stop there.
“As a preceptor, you have a rare opportunity to train your future colleagues and market your practice site,” Gattas added. “It is very common for students to begin their careers at a past rotation site, either as pharmacists or as interns before graduation.”
A LASTING RELATIONSHIP
The impact of the preceptor-student relationship goes beyond those working in the pharmacy. Many times, students have the chance to make an impact on the communities they work in and learn from the individuals they serve.
“The biggest thing I wanted students to get out of my rotation is the importance of community connection,” said Julie Netemeyer, B.S. ’85, RPh, UHSP preceptor and retired pharmacy manager at CVS in Highland, Illinois.
RECOGNIZING EXCELLENT PRECEPTORS
Each year, students have the opportunity to recognize outstanding preceptors by nominating them for Preceptor Awards, which are distributed by the Office of Experiential Education. These awards recognize the dedication that preceptors and their teams make to student success and highlight the importance that those experiences hold.
Netemeyer, who received the 2021 IPPE Community Preceptor of the Year Award before retiring in January 2022, reflected on what the precepting experience has meant to her.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A PRECEPTOR
Preceptors play a vital role in the advancement and success of our pharmacy students. Through their work, preceptors help to shape the future of pharmacy, while also having the opportunity to train future colleagues, scout talent and market their practice sites!
Becoming an alumni preceptor is also a great way to stay connected to St. Louis College of Pharmacy while sharing your knowledge and experience with the next generation of pharmacy leaders.
“A big benefit to having alumni as preceptors is that they understand the curriculum and can really relate to their students and their experiences,” Gattas explained. “Precepting is also a great way to network with their future colleagues and alumni community and forge deeper connections for the future.”
This story was first published in the spring 2022 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.