Remember the first days of starting school? Whether it was the first grade or college, there was excitement mixed with anxiety and nervousness. You did not know what to expect, what kind of teacher you would have, what kind of assignments were given, and what would you learn. Pursuing a pharmacy internship is no different. Despite all of the reviews from your peers, you begin your internship with trepidation.
Pharmacy internship, also known as a clerkship or advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE), is required for licensure. It cannot be avoided if you want to practice pharmacy. However, the experience is not as daunting as it sounds. With a better understanding of expectations and the right attitude, you will enjoy and embrace the weeks ahead at your intern site.
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Understanding Your Preceptors
Realize that when you step into a pharmacy, you are walking into a busy, intense environment where pharmacists are working steadily to keep the flow of orders or prescriptions running smoothly. Your preceptor is a pharmacist, who has volunteered their time to mentor you. Their intention is good but sometimes, the preceptor-intern relationship may take a backseat due to Joint Commission surveys, annual job reviews, mock codes, drug back orders, or any disaster that can come and go in one day or throughout your entire internship.
If you feel neglected by your preceptor (allow 1 or 2 days), then speak to your preceptor in private. Offer your assistance in their projects. Simple tasks such as typing, pulling data from patients’ charts, or pulling expired medications out of the shelves would be extremely helpful and appreciated. In the meantime, you will have unknowingly tapped into a new way of learning, by WORKING. To ensure that you do not make a mistake, the preceptor has to supervise what you are doing.
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