Showcase your new skills
Elizabeth Breeden, PharmD, CPP, is a community-based mental health fellow at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill, NC.
Hello, Grace! It sounds like your rotation year is off to a great start. For many student pharmacists, the transition from classroom to rotations can be challenging. However, the skills and knowledge you acquire during these hands-on experiences prepare you for real-world practice as a pharmacist. I would encourage you to keep challenging yourself during your rotation experiences and to develop good relationships with your preceptors and other clinical staff.
Pandemic learning challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly brought many changes and challenges to both classroom and rotational learning experiences. Know that you are not alone, and that professors and preceptors recognize that this past year and a half has been different for everyone. If there are specific areas in which you feel less comfortable, reach out to your preceptor before your rotation and ask for materials to review, especially if this is something you will be focusing on during your rotation.
Although this last year has presented so many challenges, it also spurred new opportunities for growth. While you may have had a non-traditional year in the classroom, you developed new skills in communicating online, navigating telehealth, developing independent learning plans, or discovering new technologies. Use these skills when you can during your rotations. Your preceptors may learn something new from you!
Many rotation sites also had to adapt their learning experiences while still providing hands-on learning in a COVID- friendly environment. Preceptors are still adapting to teaching during a pandemic. Be open-minded as you go on each rotation and do not be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. Preceptors are here to guide you on your path to becoming a pharmacist and want to do the best they can to help you achieve your goals.
Lastly, make sure you have time to relax. You need to ensure that you are rested and refreshed for each new month so you can fully immerse yourself in the experience. Soak up all the knowledge and advice you can from your classmates, preceptors, and professors, but take time to let your mind rest. Enjoy your weeks or months off rotation if you have them and do something you enjoy, whether that is going on a road trip, staying home binge-watching your favorite television series, or spending time with friends and family. Do whatever makes you feel recharged and ready for the months ahead.