Elsie Jalian, PharmD (UCSF ’04), a pediatric pharmacist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, 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 for USC School of Pharmacy students?
I chose to become a preceptor to USC pharmacy students because I saw how fun and rewarding a role it was. I had three great pharmacist mentors when I first started working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) who were all preceptors for USC School of Pharmacy. I saw the pride in which they shared their knowledge with the students. I also noticed how interested and appreciative the students were. The interaction seemed so positive and fun, I had to give it a try. I started volunteering to help one of those preceptors with her Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) students. The partnership worked out well. When that preceptor moved away, she recommended I take her place and I happily did.
What do you enjoy about being a preceptor?
I enjoy precepting to teach as well as to learn. Working in a unique patient setting (pediatrics) there are items I teach students they would otherwise not learn elsewhere. They appreciate the information I provide. I feel so gratified passing on what I have learned through years of working at CHLA. I also learn from the students. Sometimes it’s big pharmacy items like new medications or new laws. Other times, it’s small and silly things like how to use Snapchat. Either way, it keeps my mind active and my soul young. I appreciate what they give me as much as they appreciate what I give them.
What advice do you have for current Pharmacy students?
I advise students to truly get to know their preceptors. We’re not that far removed from you. We can offer advice and help in many situations. Furthermore, if you have an established relationship with your preceptor, working together becomes more comfortable, and learning much easier.
Why should other pharmacists consider being a preceptor for the school?
Pharmacists should become preceptors to help the future generation of pharmacists, as well as to grow as a pharmacist. As a preceptor, you challenge yourself mentally and stay updated in your field. I’ve been a preceptor for about ten years. I estimate that I have precepted around 100 students (gasp!) between the IPPE and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) students.