Preceptors' Need For Support In Tutoring Pharmacy Students in Finnish Community Pharmacies

  • Ulla Löfhjelm University of Helsinki
  • Katja Pitkä University of Helsinki
  • Sanna Passi The Finnish Pharmacists´ Association
  • Marja Airaksinen University of Helsinki
Keywords: preceptor, internship, teaching pharmacy


A pharmacy degree in Finland includes a six-month obligatory internship. The internship is integrated with theoretical studies and adds up to 30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits of the BSc (Pharm) degree. Learning is supported by reflective assignments from the university. The preceptors have an important role in organizing the internship and tutoring students successfully in community pharmacy settings.

Objective: to assess whether the preceptors of University of Helsinki’s teaching pharmacies need pedagogic support in tutoring and if so, in which core pharmaceutical tasks or tutoring skills.

Methods: The survey was sent to all preceptors of University of Helsinki´s teaching pharmacies (n=326) in 2011 (response rate 58%, n=190). The data was analyzed statistically using Excel (version 12.3.6). The open-ended questions were analyzed by qualitative content analysis.

Results: The majority of preceptors found their skills in tutoring the students mainly good. However, assessment of learning (27% of the respondents), giving feedback (23%) and organizing the learning situations supportive for learning (23%) were the areas in which the preceptors mostly indicated a need for support. Teaching current care guidelines and pharmaceutical care (36%) and multi-professional collaboration (28%) were the areas in which the preceptors expressed that they needed to update their skills.

Conclusions: The faculty should focus the support on the pedagogic skills of preceptors, particularly in improving their skills in assessment of learning and in reflective dialogue. In addition, their skills in teaching clinical and patient care aspects of pharmacy practice should be enhanced.

Conflict of Interest

We declare no conflicts of interest or financial interests that the authors or members of their immediate families have in any product or service discussed in the manuscript, including grants (pending or received), employment, gifts, stock holdings or options, honoraria, consultancies, expert testimony, patents and royalties


Type: Original Research



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Received 2016-02-21
Published 2016-11-03