The survey instrument was sent by e-mail to 576 volunteer APPE preceptors. Two hundred forty individuals responded to the e-mail. Of these, 4 respondents opted out of the study and 236 completed all or portions of the survey instrument (overall response rate, 40.9%).
The mean age of the respondents was 40.6 ± 9.2 years (range, 25-70 years), and they had been practicing pharmacy for an average of 14.1 years (range, 1-44 years). Additional characteristics of the survey respondents are summarized in Table .
Characteristics of Survey Respondents (n=236)
In addition to precepting UCSF students, the majority of respondents (70.7%) indicated they were current preceptors for other schools of pharmacy in California, including the University of the Pacific (54.9%), the University of Southern California (53.6%), Western University of Health Sciences (43.1%), the University of California, San Diego (15.7%), Touro University (10.5%), and Loma Linda University (8.5%). A smaller percentage (13.7%) indicated they had precepted students from colleges and schools of pharmacy outside of California. On average, respondents reported having 10.4 ± 8.0 years of experience as a preceptor for student pharmacists.
While 78.4% of respondents had received previous preceptor training (eg, through residencies/fellowships, live or written continuing education programs), nearly three quarters (73.5%) expressed interest in obtaining additional training. The respondents' preferences for preceptor development topics are listed in Table .
Respondents' Preferences for Preceptor Development Topics (n=201)
The majority of respondents (70.7%) specified interest in attending live preceptor development training programs. Fewer were interested in self-study Web-based courses (55.1%), written training programs (43.9%), or Web-based courses with discussion boards (26.8%). Of those who selected the live training format, 46.0% preferred that the training be offered annually, with topics varying from year to year; while 38.1% preferred multiple training sessions throughout the year with various topics that built upon each other to develop precepting skills. The majority of respondents (71.9%) preferred that live training programs be offered locally, within their region of practice; whereas fewer respondents preferred training programs held in conjunction with state/local professional association meetings (14.4%) or conducted on the UCSF campus (13.7%).
The majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were confident in their abilities to precept, evaluate, and assess student pharmacists (Table ). Areas in which respondents were less likely to agree/strongly agree they were confident in their preceptor abilities included: identifying a dishonest student (61.9%), determining the reason(s) why a student may appear unmotivated (61.5%), identifying plagiarism (58.9%), and identifying factors (eg, personal crisis, mental illness, substance abuse) that may be affecting a student's performance (58.4%). When responses were stratified by the respondents' previous exposure to preceptor training programs, significant differences were observed for several areas (Table ). Respondents who had received formal preceptor training were significantly more confident in their abilities to clarify expectations, evaluate a student's knowledge, and foster skills related to critical thinking and problem solving.
Respondents Self-Rated Confidence in Their Abilities to Precept, Evaluate and Assess Student Pharmacists (n=236)
Comparison of Preceptors' Confidence in Their Abilities to Precept Student Pharmacists and Previous Preceptor Traininga (n=227)
Respondents' opinions regarding the incorporation of students into the workplace are given in Table . Almost half (48.1%) of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that student pharmacists helped them complete their daily responsibilities. Similarly, approximately two-thirds (67.8%) agreed or strongly agreed that student pharmacists extend patient care or pharmacy-related services in the practice setting. A smaller percentage of respondents (29.5%) agreed or strongly agreed that having a student decreased the overall workload in the practice setting; more preceptors (52.9%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement or were unsure (17.6%). Preceptor perceptions regarding the incorporation of students into the workplace were not significantly different when analyzed by the primary pharmacy practice setting, prior preceptor training, or the number of years the preceptor had been practicing as a pharmacist or pharmacy preceptor.
Preceptors' Opinions Regarding the Incorporation of Student Pharmacists in the Workplace (n=227)