Development and evaluation of a workplace-based preceptor training course for pharmacy practitioners

Can Pharm J (Ott). 2012 Sep;145(5):231-6. doi: 10.3821/145.5.cpj231.


Background: There has been limited research about preceptor training programs that include coaching, experiential practice or development of preceptor coaching capacity. We describe the development and evaluation of a workplace preceptor training course for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians within a large regional health authority.

Methods: The instructional format was self-study readings and interactive seminars followed by structured practical experience plus feedback from a preceptor coach. During the structured practical experience, each participant served as a preceptor for a student or new staff member. Course evaluations and qualitative interviews were used to evaluate utility and perceived value among participants. Interview transcripts were analyzed using qualitative description and themes were aggregated; illustrative quotes are presented.

Results: Since 2006, a total of 40 pharmacists and technicians have participated in the course and interviews were conducted with 14 of these participants. Aspects of the course that interview participants found to be particularly useful included receiving feedback from a coach, implementing a lesson plan and identifying and using different learning and teaching styles. Some participants described changes in attitudes or behaviours toward new employees or students, the use of new learning styles and changes in focus and approach to being a preceptor.

Discussion: This unique course could be applied in other workplaces where pharmacy staff members help to deliver experiential education programs. The delivery format was appropriate for a mixed group of pharmacist and technician participants.

Conclusion: A preceptor training course of readings, seminars and structured practical experience with feedback from a coach resulted in satisfaction with learning experiences and evidence of attitudinal and behavioural change up to 3 years after the course.