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To the Editor. You may have heard someone say in jest, “How can my bank account be overdrawn? I still have checks.” A similar situation may apply to a couple who shares a bank account for which each individual has a checkbook. Systematic monitoring is needed to protect against an overdraft and the consequences when people spend more money than they have earned.
This analogy can be applied to experiential education. As of January 2010, there are 120 schools and colleges of pharmacy at some stage of accreditation.1 Part of the accreditation process includes introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) and advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) capacity charts.2 Each school submits these forecasts to confirm a sufficient supply of sites and preceptors for their students.
Much like the couple who shares a bank account, colleges and schools of pharmacy are creating their charts independently. Established colleges/schools base the numbers of IPPEs and APPEs on enrollment and rotation histories, with capacity margins based on experience. For example, the requirement for acute care/general medicine has created demand (and therefore competition) for APPE sites in this area. A new school makes contacts with sites and preceptors and projects numbers for each year of the curriculum.
So how can our “account” be overdrawn when we still have preceptors?
The following are some recommendations to promote experiential solvency:
Experiential education is the intersection of curriculum, students, faculty members, preceptors, stakeholders, sites, and pharmacy practice. Experiential personnel have an extensive network for advice, networking, and problem-solving for increasingly complex responsibilities. By working together to address potential overdraft situations for experiential capacity, colleges/schools will meet the needs of their students and their invaluable preceptors.