The Lived Experience of Experiential Learning of Pharmacy Preceptors in Saskatchewan: A Phenomenological Study
Experiential learning is an integral component of the pharmacy curriculum at the University of Saskatchewan. Preceptors are essential to experiential learning as they provide experiences for students and assess students’ knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. It is imperative that educational institution personnel in pharmacy schools collaborate effectively with preceptors to ensure that quality experiential learning occurs within pharmacy programs. To establish meaningful relationships with preceptors, it is important that educational instructional personnel understand the lived experience of the preceptor. The purpose of this study is to examine the lived experience of experiential learning of pharmacy preceptors. Questions that guided the research were: 1) What is the lived experience of experiential learning of pharmacy preceptors in Saskatchewan? 2) What is it like to be a pharmacy preceptor to a student participating in experiential learning? 3) What enhancements or constraints do pharmacy preceptors experience while participating in experiential learning that may impact their understanding, desire, or ability to engage in experiential learning in the pharmacy program? Qualitative methodology, in particular, phenomenology of practice as guided by van Manen (1990), was used in the study. Semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with nine preceptors from hospital and community pharmacy practices in Saskatchewan were conducted. Themes, anecdotes, and detailed descriptions to gain understanding and insight into the lived experience of experiential learning of preceptors are used in this hermeneutic, interpretive, descriptive, phenomenological analysis. Themes identified include learning and teaching, building a relationship, finding a balance, time for everything, feeling responsible, and managing difficult situations. Together, these themes describe the lived experience of experiential learning for the pharmacy preceptor in Saskatchewan. These themes are not exhaustive of experiential learning, but they do allow a thorough investigation of and insight into experiential learning. The results indicate that, while preceptors valued experiential learning in theory, active participation in experiential learning involves balancing competing priorities of the workload of pharmacy practice with a shortage of resources and time. Good relationships enhanced experiential learning, particularly in environments that were conducive to learning and teaching for both the preceptor and the student. In contrast, difficult situations, time constraints, and increased workloads constrained the preceptor’s desire to participate in experiential learning. This phenomenological study may allow others, including administrative personnel in educational institutions, to appreciate the lived experience of pharmacy preceptors, and ultimately may encourage others to act in a tactful, empathetic manner when modifying and implementing experiential learning curricula. The information provided in this research may enhance the quality and quantity of experiential placements to benefit both students and preceptors.
Experiential learning, phenomenology, pharmacy, preceptor, lived experience, pharmacist
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)