Preceptor Spotlight: K. Cher Wu

K. Cher Wu (USC PharmD ’09), ambulatory care pharmacy supervisor at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, explains why she volunteers as a preceptor to mentor USC Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students and introduce them to “real world” experiences.

Why did you choose to become a preceptor for USC Mann students?

As a USC alumna, choosing to become a preceptor was an easy decision. It was a natural progression from undergraduate to pharmacy student to pharmacy resident and now as a preceptor. I’ve been a preceptor since 2010. I love giving back to the School and precepting is a great way to keep in touch with the new generation of pharmacy students and the School.

How do preceptors play a vital role in preparing students for future jobs in the healthcare industry?

Preceptors truly help mold and shape the students to prepare them for the industry post-graduation. During rotations they get first-hand experience on the different facets of pharmacy and see the many opportunities that are available with a PharmD. I believe it’s also up to the preceptors to be role models for students and educate them clinically but also prepare them for real-world expectations as a pharmacist.

What do you enjoy most about being a preceptor?

I enjoy interacting with the students and helping them navigate through Kaiser Permanente and the general field of pharmacy practice. I love showing them tips and tricks to help them with patients, rotations, and any other aspect of pharmacy. I truly enjoy seeing the students progress during their rotation and it’s a joy to see them reflect back on how far they’ve come and how much they’ve learned in that time.

What advice do you have for current PharmD students?

Healthcare and the field of pharmacy is always changing so you have to be open to that change and use it to your advantage. Use your personal experiences to connect with others whether it’s your patients, physicians, nurses, coworkers or future bosses. Get out there and work and volunteer to get actual experience in a pharmacy. Grades are important but you’ll learn just as much, if not more, through working vs. limiting yourself to only lectures and schoolwork. Lastly, enjoy pharmacy school, the time will go by very quickly. Find your balance of work and play – it’s vital for your own mental health & well-being.

Why should other pharmacists consider being a preceptor for the school?

USC has one of the top schools for pharmacy, producing high-quality students for decades. By being a preceptor, you are improving the quality of healthcare through your mentorship to pharmacy students. You are truly shaping the future of pharmacy.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

USC was my home for 15 years – undergrad, pharmacy school, residency, and as an ambulatory care staff pharmacist. Even though I work for Kaiser Permanente now, returning to USC always feels like coming home. Being a USC preceptor has allowed me to keep a connection with the school. It provides the opportunity to give back to the place that shaped me and gave me my career. I know I will always be a part of the Trojan Family. FIGHT ON!

Learn more about PharmD professional experience programs at USC Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Pharmacists: Interested in becoming a preceptor? Email