The Status and Adequacy of Preceptor Orientation and Development Programs in US Pharmacy Schools

Am J Pharm Educ. 2020 Feb;84(2):7540. doi: 10.5688/ajpe7540.


Objective. To identify current preceptor orientation and development programs at US colleges and schools of pharmacy and propose future initiatives for preceptor programs. Methods. An anonymous 28-item survey was administered in January 2017 to 128 experiential education personnel at accredited US schools and colleges of pharmacy. Data from completed survey instruments were tabulated and qualitative responses to open-ended questions were examined using thematic analysis. Results. Eighty-five experiential education administrators participated in the survey (response rate=67%). Most preceptor orientation programs met the majority of requirements as outlined within the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education's Standard 20.3, although only 42% of programs mandated preceptor orientation prior to student placement. Two-thirds of respondents offered annual, live preceptor development, and 75% of programs used commercially available online products. Nearly 40% of respondents collaborated with other schools or professional organizations to offer preceptor training. Only 29% of programs had specific requirements for pharmacists to maintain their active preceptor status. Seventy percent of respondents reported spending over $2500 and 39% over $5000 annually on preceptor development. Programs with the highest monetary investment (>$10,000/year) in preceptor development offered multiple venues (live and online) for preceptor training. Programs with significant personnel commitment (≥0.5 FTE devoted to preceptor development) frequently had dedicated site visitors. Conclusion. Preceptor orientation programs at US schools of pharmacy are generally similar, but development programs vary significantly across the Academy. Highly invested programs featured live and online training or site visitors who provided individualized feedback or training. Future studies should explore the cost-effectiveness of program options and their impact on preceptor learning and behaviors.

Keywords: experiential education; preceptor development.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Pharmacy
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Preceptorship / organization & administration*
  • Problem-Based Learning / organization & administration
  • Program Development / standards
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools, Pharmacy / organization & administration*
  • Students, Pharmacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States