Margaret Adamcyzk, PharmD (’90), pharmacist at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, explains why she volunteers as a preceptor to mentor USC School of Pharmacy students and introduce them to “real world” experiences.
Why did you choose to become a preceptor?
My predecessor pharmacist, Sylvia Rodriguez, inspired me to become a preceptor. I met Sylvia at USC Student Health Center Pharmacy during my first year of pharmacy school. She was my preceptor for the community externship rotation. Although I was eager to learn, I had to admit I was apprehensive about the rotation.
Sylvia welcomed me with a warm smile which immediately put me at ease. She taught me many technical skills as well as other important aspects of retail pharmacy practice not limited to counseling students, laws and regulations, ethics, and the business of pharmacy.
I noticed the interaction among the pharmacy and the health center staff was very friendly, caring, team-oriented, and professional. A physician assistant, nurse, or physician would come by the pharmacy window to ask Sylvia questions about medications. If she didn’t have an answer right away, she would find the answer and follow up. The personal teaching, instruction, and supervision that I received left me with a desire to become a preceptor one day.
How does preceptorship help students learn more about the field of pharmacy?
When I became a pharmacist, I had the opportunity to take on a preceptorship. I truly enjoy teaching and sharing with my students about pharmacy practice. Students at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Pharmacy participate in an invaluable experiential learning program. They begin with an accelerated learning style which is learning by doing. This hands-on method of learning allows them to use their critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills. I introduce students to practical world situations by connecting the gap between theory and practice, engaging them in recalling ideas and concepts.
Students learn from other members of the pharmacy team as well. They learn to work collaboratively and gain confidence in participating as a team member. Students research and present on the latest drug of their choice. This increases their research and communication skills, and at the same time allows me to learn from my students about the latest advances in the field of pharmacy.
Last, but not least, I emphasize the practice of caring and respecting our customers, colleagues, and each member of the health care team. With such practice, we connect with each other in a deeper, meaningful way.
Why should other pharmacists consider being a preceptor for the school?
I take great joy in giving back to the pharmacy profession by being a preceptor. I enjoy it so much that I even encourage other pharmacists to participate in the preceptor program and take on the challenges of contributing to the next generation of pharmacists.