An Exploration of Preceptor-Provided Written Feedback on Entrustable Professional Activities During Early Practice Experiences

Am J Pharm Educ. 2021 Mar;85(3):8091. doi: 10.5688/ajpe8091. Epub 2020 Nov 13.


Objective. To explore and evaluate open-ended feedback on entrustable professional activities (EPAs) provided by preceptors to Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students completing their first practice experience.Methods. A retrospective review was conducted of qualitative data collected from preceptor evaluations of student pharmacists who had completed a two-month practice experience in either community or health-system pharmacy at the end of their first professional year. Preceptors had used a validated EPA framework to assess students. A codebook was developed around the EPA framework and sub-coding was used to indicate positive, negative, or neutral assessment within each EPA. After several rounds of coding, consensus was reached for all codes by two investigators. A dependability audit was implemented to ensure the trustworthiness of the findings.Results. Preceptor evaluations of 153 student pharmacists were included in the study. Eighty students (52.3%) had completed a community experience and 73 (47.7%) had completed a health-system experience between May and August 2018. The preceptors at both practice settings provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on all EPAs. Opportunities to optimize preceptor-provided feedback were identified. The feedback provided by the preceptors in health-system and community practice settings focused on knowledge and behavior, respectively, with both emphasizing students' skill-based performance.Conclusion. This study provides valuable insight into optimizing preceptor-provided written feedback on EPAs. Conducting deeper analysis of preceptor feedback using focus groups or structured interviews is suggested to further explore preceptors' provision of EPA assessment to student pharmacists practicing in real-world settings.

Keywords: entrustable professional activities; experiential education; introductory pharmacy practice experience; performance assessment; preceptor feedback.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Pharmacy*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Preceptorship
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students, Pharmacy*