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Preceptor Perceptions of Pharmacy Student Team Quality Assurance Projects

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To assess preceptors' opinions of the impact of quality assurance projects. Students were given the opportunity to directly apply material learned in class in a "real world" environment by completing a quality assurance project in a community or health-system pharmacy. All preceptors (n = 38) were contacted via telephone and given the opportunity to respond to open-ended questions concerning their experience with student-team quality assurance projects. Preceptors indicated the quality assurance projects benefited their practice sites by providing additional resources (53%, n = 19), decreased medication errors (22%, n = 8), and increased awareness of the importance of quality assurance (22%, n = 8). Ninety-four percent of respondents (n = 34) perceived the projects had a positive impact on patient care and 92% (n = 33) perceived a positive impact on themselves. Preceptors felt that quality assurance projects performed by pharmacy-student teams were beneficial to patient care, the practice site, and themselves. The quality assurance projects have broad applications and can be added to a medication safety class or to the introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) sequence.

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									                   American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2009; 73 (3) Article 47.

RESEARCH ARTICLES
Preceptor Perceptions of Pharmacy Student Team Quality
Assurance Projects
Terri L. Warholak, PhD*
Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy
Submitted June 16, 2008; accepted August 1, 2008; published May 27, 2009.

        Objectives. To assess preceptors’ opinions of the impact of quality assurance projects.
        Methods. Students were given the opportunity to directly apply material learned in class in a ‘‘real
        world’’ environment by completing a quality assurance project in a community or health-system
        pharmacy. All preceptors (n 5 38) were contacted via telephone and given the opportunity to respond
        to open-ended questions concerning their experience with student-team quality assurance projects.
        Results. Preceptors indicated the quality assurance projects benefited their practice sites by providing
        additional resources (53%, n 5 19), decreased medication errors (22%, n 5 8), and increased aware-
        ness of the importance of quality assurance (22%, n 5 8). Ninety-four percent of respondents (n 5 34)
        perceived the projects had a positive impact on patient care and 92% (n 5 33) perceived a positive
        impact on themselves.
        Conclusions. Preceptors felt that quality assurance projects performed by pharmacy-student teams
        were beneficial to patient care, the practice site, and themselves. The quality assurance projects have
        broad applications and can be added to a medication safety class or to the introductory pharmacy
        practice experience (IPPE) sequence.
        Keywords: preceptor, quality assurance, curriculum



INTRODUCTION                                                        processes to minimize drug problems and (2) use QA to
    The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has specified its               identify and resolve medication use problems.
vision of how quality issues in health care should be                    Because of these recommendations, colleges and
addressed: ‘‘All health professionals should be educated            schools of pharmacy in the United States have begun to
to deliver patient-centered care as a member of an inter-           implement educational strategies to help future pharma-
disciplinary team, emphasizing evidence-based practice,             cists increase medication safety.4,5 One such class for
quality improvement approaches, and informatics.’’1 This            doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students at Midwestern
and subsequent reports spurred other organizations and              University Chicago College of Pharmacy, entitled Qual-
accrediting bodies to make similar recommendations.2                ity Assurance and Effective Pharmacy Practice (QA &
The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy                    EPP), has been described previously in the Journal.4
(AACP) Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical                      The QA & EPP instructional sequence was designed
Education (CAPE) 2004 Educational Outcomes3 call for                to give students the opportunity to directly apply material
colleges and schools of pharmacy to prepare students to:            learned in class in a ‘‘real world’’ environment. To ac-
(1) apply quality assurance (QA) strategies and research            complish this, students self-selected project teams and
                                                                    were assigned to a preceptor in a community or health-
Corresponding Author: Terri L. Warholak, PhD, RPh,                  system pharmacy via lottery. Except in rare circumstan-
Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science, The University           ces, each preceptor had only 1 project team per year.
of Arizona College of Pharmacy-Pulido Center, 1295 N                Preceptors were identified and recruited by the course
Martin Ave., PO Box 210202, Tucson, AZ, 85721-0202. Tel:            director. In many cases, the QA & EPP preceptors were
520-626-4240. E-mail: warholak@pharmacy.arizona.edu                 not MWU College of Pharmacy preceptors.
*At the time of this study, Dr. Warholak was Assistant                   Teams met with their preceptors in the second week
Professor, Midwestern University Chicago College of                 of the quarter to develop site-specific QA projects. During
Pharmacy, Downers Grove, IL. Dr. Warholak is now an                 the remainder of the quarter, student teams met with their
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Pulido Center       preceptor at the pharmacy practice site weekly (3 hours
College of Pharmacy, Tucson, AZ.                                    per week) to collect, analyze, and evaluate data to
                                                                1
                  American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2009; 73 (3) Article 47.

measure the plan’s impact. Results were presented at               preceptors also learn from them. Therefore, as the course
a poster f
								
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