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How to keep students occupied?

How to keep students occupied?
Welcome to optimal outcome precepting
session 3: “Designing a Structured, Well-Organized Learning Experience.“ When I was a director of experiential education, Palm Beach Atlantic University and also at Wingate University during the early 2000s. The most frequent complaints I received from preceptors was that it was difficult to keep track of what the students should be doing every day. It was someone draining to be constantly trying to figure out how to keep the students occupied. Interestingly enough, one of the complaints I received from students quite regularly was they felt as though they didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing at all times or is if they’re in the way the pharmacy department here in the hospital.
We can alleviate such concerns by simply planning a well-organized experience in building structure into that experience Such as, the students always know what they’re expected to do. The preceptor doesn’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about what the students should be doing day in and day out. Keep in mind that, at TMU, rotation is four weeks, eight hours a day, five days a week. So there’s a lot of time that the students spend at the hospital. Time that needs to be well planned so students know what they need to be doing. Flash back to the original session on precepting. Six steps to becoming a super preceptor which provided a rough overview of how to plan a rotation.
Now we have these five sessions. Of which, this is session 3 to explain in more detail what preceptor should be doing. In the six steps to becoming a super preceptor, we will be focusing on steps four and five today. To uphold the clear set of rules, boundaries and expectations for students. And also to create a self-sustaining structural framework for students to follow and for the preceptor to follow during the rotation. Everything always starts with learning outcomes. Now we’ve already covered how the methods and the content of rotation should flow directly from the learning outcomes is the target of what students should learn as a result of the rotational experience.
Today, we’re going to be talking about the assimilation of the methods and the content and also the assessments of practices that we talked about last session. It’s important for the methods and assessments of the content to all flow together smoothly and being alignment toward achieving the learning outcomes. The best way to accomplish that nice smooth flow of learning during the rotation is to plan a well-organized experience and build a lot of structure into it. So there’s consistency from rotation to rotation and from student to student. Our first learning principle for this session is experiential training should be like well planned and organized basketball practice.
John Wooden, one of the great basketball coaches of all time, from UCLA won 10 national championships in 12 years from 1964 in 1972, with quoted a saying : “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” John Wooden was noted for being meticulous planning the practices of his players. He planned out every minute and executed his practices with precision. His idea was one of the time to be well spent. So that his players would get as much out of the practice as possible. Same rationale applies to operating a pharmacy practice rotation. Receptor should plan the rotation well enough that the students times is well spent and they achieve the learning outcome to the greatest extent possible.
Training needs to be efficient, consistent and productive. Efficient from the standpoint of the preceptor because let’s face the preceptors have other responsibilities. Training students is just one aspect of their roles at the hospital. So we want to be as efficient as possible, so preceptors don’t consume too much time with students and to still fulfill their other responsibilities. We want to be consistent so students going to stable learning experience that they can count on from time to time. And we want to be productive so students get as much out of those four weeks as possible. Our next experiential learning principle is that structure provides efficiency and consistency.
What we mean by this is the structure help students to know what to expect and stay on track. Structure tell students what they should be doing at any given time during a specific day of the rotation. And helps them stay on track to accomplish the assignments and the activities that they have been assigned. It also decreases demands on the preceptor. If there’s a lot of structure built into the rotation. Documentation has been made. Instructions has been provided. The students know what they have to do without constantly asking the preceptor to provide guidance. That makes things much more efficient.
So the preceptor can stay on top of what the students are doing and provide adequate guidance while still fulfilling his or her responsibilities as a pharmacist in the hospital. Improve documentation and supports assessments. If we have forms that students are expected to fill out as they’re engaged in patient monitoring, or other types of activities. That provides a record of what students are doing. These records can then be reviewed by the preceptor to evaluate how well the students are keeping up with the expectations of the rotation. It also provides for formatting the assessments that will take place. So that when receptors assess student performance, they have a standardized forms that provides objectivity and consistency in grading.
Minimize understandings between misunderstandings between the preceptor and the students. If the expectations of the students and the rules and regulations of the rotation are inprint that can be provided to students in advanced. Students can be held accountable and there will be less miscommunication where there’s conflict between the preceptor and the students. Because the student doesn’t understand exactly what the expectations of the preceptor wants. In this case of everything in writing, there’s no misunderstanding. Students can be held accountable with much less conflict. And lastly and perhaps most importantly, it produces better outcomes. A well-organized structured rotation guides the students systematically toward what they need to achieve.
It makes it easier for the preceptor to objectively and fairly assess the student performance and to provide the needed corrective guidance as to how students need to improve. To the end result is better achievement of the learning outcomes by the students. Our next experiential learning principle is to manage critical information as simply as accurately as possible. Monitoring forms make it much easier for the students to get in the swing of how they should monitor patients, the sequence of monitoring. Something that the students will pick up over time as they’re constantly filling out the forms of a certain sequence. That sequence will become natural. Students continue to use the form.
And it also provides adequate documentation of what the students are doing on a daily basis that the preceptor can easily review. Grading and assessment forms make it easier for the preceptor to grade the students consistently and objectively. And also guide to the student is how they will be evaluated. So when they’re preparing assignments or engaging activities, they know exactly what the criteria are. How they will be evaluated? It provides opportunities to give students instructions in writing which saves a lot of time. It’s much easier for the preceptor to hand students a set of instructions. Considering the fact that there may be multiple students on the rotation and preceptors going to have a new set of students every four weeks.
If the instructions are printed and writing. The preceptor can simply give those instructions to the students. And the student can read them for him or herself. It’s less time that the preceptor has to spend verbally giving instructions to the students and less miscommunication that may result. As we know what can happen during verbal instruction. Oftentimes, many of them are misinterpreted or forgot. A rotation calendar or schedule provides students with a clear understanding of what they need to be doing every day. And also relieves the preceptor of the burden of having to determine what students need to do on a daily basis. It’s already determined that the start of the rotation and documented on a schedule or calendar.
And rules and policies can be put in print, so students know exactly what the expectations are. What time they need to show up? What kind of appearance or entire restrictions may be placed on them? All such policies and procedures can be put in writing so students can be held accountable. And the preceptor has less burden to educate students about those policies.

Training should be efficient, consistent, and productive.

In this video, Prof. Brown mentions the two principles that should be kept in mind:

  • Structure provides efficiency and consistency.
  • Managing critical information as simply and as accurately as possible.
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