TTUHSC School of Pharmacy

Experiential Programs Unveils Innovative Preceptor Training Program

Production completed for first twelve-episode mini-series

Experiential education makes up approximately one-third of the curricula at many colleges and universities around the country. With new higher learning institutions opening their doors each year, combined with increasing enrollment at existing institutions, the need for preceptors is at an all-time high and is expected to increase.

In addition, it is estimated that more than 80 percent of introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences are delivered by adjunct faculty, most of whom have little or no formal training as teachers. Though the remaining experiences are taught by full-time faculty, many of these individuals also have limited training as teachers, even if they completed a structured teaching certificate program during their PGY1 or PGY2 residency programs.

The result is a continuing and critical need to increase preceptor training across the country. Although there are existing preceptor training programs, they are somewhat limited in quantity and diversity of mediums.

Armed with these facts, Craig D. Cox, Pharm.D., vice chair for experiential programs at the TTUHSC School of Pharmacy, worked with Brittany Patterson, the school's assistant director for experiential programs, to define a preceptor development strategy that targets preceptors representing all health professions.

One of the first programs developed was a preceptor mini-series consisting of twelve episodes. Each of the videos in the series is five to eight minutes in length and each episode builds upon previous episodes in the series.

The storyline for the series follows a young preceptor and her two students through a six-week clinical rotation at a hospital. The students are cast as polar opposites and present unique challenges to the preceptor. At moments throughout each episode, two preceptor experts share insight into how they would deal with each difficult learning situation.

Cox wrote and directed each video in the series; Studio 84, a professional production company located in Lubbock, produced and edited the videos. Production took approximately six months to complete from conceptualization to final product release and was funded internally by the School of Pharmacy.

All actors were School of Pharmacy faculty and students who volunteered to be a part of the innovative training series. For each episode, two reflective questions were prepared to allow for participants to consider the potential impact of the episode on their own teaching.

Once the final product was completed, the Continuing Education Committee, in conjunction with the Preceptor Advisory Council, reviewed each episode to determine how long it took to watch the episode and complete the two reflection questions. It was determined that each episode required roughly 15 minutes to complete, meaning each episode translates to 0.025 continuing education units, or CEUs. Individuals who complete the entire series — 12 episodes — receive three CEU contact hours, a result Cox targeted to meet the required hours preceptors must receive every two years to be certified.

The series premier was held March 27 at Premiere Cinemas at Lubbock's South Plains Mall. The full 12-episode series was presented on the big screen in front of more than 100 students and pharmacists who also received free popcorn and soda. At the end of the program, attendees had the opportunity to get autographs from the actors and actresses who attended the premier.

"It was a fun event," Cox said. "It was unlike any preceptor education program that the pharmacists had ever seen before and I really think they were excited and impressed by it."

Cox and the School of Pharmacy are working to make individual episodes of the series available online for continuing education credit through the school's Continuing Education site. With the first series in the can, Cox and his colleagues are working on scripts for the second and third series, which they plan to produce this summer.