April 18, 2017
By Anna Herd
JACKSON, Miss. – Third-year pharmacy students at the University of Mississippi will have the opportunity to meet their preceptors, or the professional pharmacists they’ll work with during their fourth-year rotations, at the annual Preceptor Conference on Thursday, April 19, at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson.
At the conference, students will be able to ask their preceptors questions to prepare for working at the ten practice sites they’ll visit during rotations. Preceptors will also learn about pharmacy education and preceptor development.
Fourth-year students will spend one month at each rotation site, which can be located anywhere from an independent retail pharmacy to a hospital pharmacy, usually within the state. At the end of their fourth year, students should be well prepared to work as professional pharmacists in a broad range of practice settings.
“During these rotations, a student participates in their preceptor’s daily responsibilities, and generally becomes an extension of the preceptor by the end of the rotation,” said Kris Harrell, associate professor of pharmacy practice and the school’s director of both the Professional Experience Program and Experiential Affairs.
Pharmacists must apply to become preceptors, and their applications must be approved by the Tripartite Committee, made up of the School of Pharmacy, the Mississippi State Board of Pharmacy and state pharmacy association leadership, as well as the Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning.
“Preceptors are usually looking to give back to the profession, and they’re chosen because they show a desire and interest to teach future pharmacists,” Harrell said.
Stephanie Sollis, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Corning, Arkansas, felt it was important to make sure she had personal connections with her preceptors when she attended the Preceptor Conference last year.
“For third-year students, I would remember that this may be your chance to make a great first impression,” Sollis said. “Feel free to ask questions about what you may do on rotations, as well as about the practice site in general.”
For many students on rotations, the pharmacists and other practitioners they meet will be valuable contacts and mentors when entering the job market.
“The mentorship preceptors provide for our students is extremely important,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy. “We are very grateful for their contributions to our students’ education and experience.”