Academy of Preceptors Trains Pharmacists to Teach Across Generations

Differences in learning styles among older and younger students highlighted during continuing education program for School’s preceptors.

Academy of Preceptors Trains Pharmacists to Teach Across Generations

By Malissa Carroll
April 30, 2014

On April 16, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy welcomed preceptors from its Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses to the annual Academy of Preceptors Dinner and Continuing Education Program. Titled “Motivating and Teaching Across Generations,” this year’s program was presented by Stuart Haines, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, BC-ADM, professor and vice chair for clinical services in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), and Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CPE, professor and vice chair for education in PPS.

“As preceptors, you provide more than 30 percent of our Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum,” said Toyin Tofade, MS, PharmD, BCPS, CPCC, assistant dean of the Experiential Learning Program at the School, in welcoming remarks delivered on behalf of Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School. “Being a preceptor is a commitment of your time, your resources, and your expertise, as you provide our students with the clinical foundation they need to become exceptional practitioners. What we teach in the classroom, you demonstrate in real-world settings. We could not offer the educational program that we have without your vital involvement.”

Preceptors are full-time or part-time pharmacy practitioners who serve as affiliate faculty for the School and oversee students during their introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences. As practicing pharmacists, preceptors are required by the state of Maryland to complete a certain amount of continuing education each year. The School of Pharmacy hosts its free Academy of Preceptors Dinner and Continuing Education Program to thank preceptors for their dedication to the School and to help them continue providing high quality learning experiences for future generations of pharmacists.

“I commend the School of Pharmacy for taking the time to organize continuing education programs such as the Academy of Preceptors to help preceptors like myself fulfill our professional competencies,” said Martin Taylor, PharmD, BCPS, who supervises students at his practice site at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. “I greatly value the opportunity to attend these programs to learn new methods and strategies that I can adopt to ensure that my students are getting the most out of their rotation at my site.”

Preceptors attending this year’s event learned about the major social events and characteristics that define each generation, including the silent generation, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and the lost generation. Learning about the environment in which each generation was raised helped preceptors better understand the unique educational expectations, instructional preferences, and technology experiences of its members.

“During my eight years as a preceptor for the School of Pharmacy, I have witnessed a change in the way that my students learn the skills that they need to become successful practicing pharmacists,” said Mary Taylor, PharmD, BCPS, another preceptor from Sinai Hospital. “I always enjoy opportunities to learn more about my teaching style, including ways in which I might adjust it to better fit the needs of my students.”

Also presented were new techniques that preceptors could adopt to help better identify the needs of their students and maximize their motivation to learn. “I think everyone here wants to learn some new ‘tips of the trade’ to help us become better preceptors to future generations of student pharmacists,” said Derek Rhodes, PharmD, who oversees student pharmacists at his practice site with the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group.

In 2013, the School of Pharmacy welcomed more than 90 new preceptors to its Experiential Learning Program, bringing the total number of preceptors who work with students as they train for one of the most exciting careers in health care to 870. If you are interested in becoming a preceptor, please complete the application form available on the School’s website and submit it to the Experiential Learning Program with a copy of your current resume and pharmacist’s license.

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