Canadian pharmacy residency programs rely on preceptors to support the growing demand of graduates wishing to pursue hospital residencies. Understanding the educational needs of these preceptors is important to ensure that they are well prepared to deliver successful programs.
To determine what new and experienced residency preceptors self-identify as learning needs in order to become more effective preceptors for pharmacy residents.
A needs assessment of preceptors from the 31 accredited Canadian general hospital pharmacy residency programs was conducted. The study had 4 key components: interviews and focus group discussions with key informants, a pilot study, an online survey, and member checking (seeking clarification and further explanation from study participants). The residency coordinators and a convenience sample of 5 preceptors from each program were invited to participate in the survey component.
Of a possible 186 participants, 132 (71%) responded to the survey. Of these, 128 (97%) were confident that they met the 2010 standards of the Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Board (CHPRB). Preceptors ranked communication skills, giving effective feedback, and clinical knowledge as the most important elements of being an effective preceptor. Managing workload, performing evaluations, and dealing with difficult residents were commonly reported challenges. Preceptors expressed a preference for interactive workshops and mentorship programs with experienced colleagues when first becoming preceptors, followed by 1-day training sessions or online learning modules every other year for ongoing educational support. The most beneficial support topics selected were providing constructive feedback, practical assessment strategies, small-group teaching strategies, effective communication skills, and setting goals and objectives.
This study identified several learning needs of hospital residency preceptors and showed that preceptors would appreciate educational support. Utilization of these results by residency program administrators, the CHPRB, and faculties of pharmacy could be beneficial for residency programs across Canada.