MPA | Pharmacy News

By Brooke Malone, Pharm D. candidate 2017, Ferris State University College of Pharmacy


As my P3 year was drawing to a close, I remember having mixed emotions of being ecstatic to be done with the didactic portion of pharmacy school, as well as terror of what would be expected of me while I was out on my rotations as a P4. I assumed that my P4 year would be a year-long test to see if I could handle being a pharmacist on my own. While the purpose of your rotations is in part to test your knowledge of pharmacotherapy, it is very important to remember that it is still school. None of your preceptors are going to expect you to be an expert on your very first day of a rotation; instead, they want to see that you grow throughout your experience with them.


The best way to impress your preceptors, and to gain the most out of your rotations, is to drive your own education. Any time that you come across a disease state that you aren’t very familiar with, or a drug that you’ve never heard of before, take some time to look up information about how that disease presents, the typical treatments that are used, the mechanism of action of the drugs and common side effects that are seen. Your preceptor may not specifically ask you to know all of this information; however, you will need to know these things in order to pass your boards and work as an effective pharmacist. Taking your education into your own hands is the best way to excel in your final year of pharmacy school.

Another important step to take is to ask for critical feedback. Your preceptors should give you, at minimum, a review in the middle of your rotation as well as at the end. If it seems that your preceptor is only giving positive feedback, challenge them to come up with a few areas that you need to improve. No one is perfect; however, sometimes preceptors can be hesitant to give too much constructive criticism.  I spent my first rotation thinking that my preceptor loved me because all she ever did was sing my praises, only to walk into my final review session to hear that she thought I had an overwhelming personality that was intimidating to patients and other providers. I would have much preferred hearing this earlier in my rotation so that I could try and change my behavior, but it never occurred to me to ask for more criticism earlier in my rotation.


At the end of the day, your experience as a P4 is entirely what you make of it. The majority of your days will be spent on your own looking at patients and deciding on how to best manage their care. Bettering yourself in terms of expanding your knowledge and adjusting your behaviors in response to critical criticism are the best ways to ensure patients receive the finest care and that you make the most out of your P4 rotations. 

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