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Professionalism and leadership

Professionalism and leadership
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Great preceptors understand professionalism. And they understand that there are various dimensions to professionalism. I would like to share with you now is that the similarity between the elements of professionalism and the elements of leadership. I’ve already covered the characteristics of professional pharmacists from the standpoint of the three dimensions and what it takes to be an outstanding professional. We can also review those same three dimensions. The relation to what it takes to be a great leader, an effective leader from the standpoint of leading a student as a preceptor educating students. The dynamics of leadership and professionalism are essentially the same when you really break it down. Now the first level of leadership or professionalism is basic pharmacy skills.
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And what we mean here is the ability to make wise decisions and sound clinical judgment. This is absolutely essential for pharmacy preceptor. Preceptor has to be a good cogniition to be able to demonstrate good clinical practices to their students. But clearly, that is not enough. A preceptor who is simply an effective cognition, but doesn’t have the other requisite skills for being a great preceptor is not going to be a very good preceptor. Preceptors need to be able to interact constructively with their students. People skills are very important, the ability to connect. What we mean here is the ability to lead and serve by positively influencing the behavior of others. That’s the element of leadership that comes from people skills.
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Leaders can influence their followers, based on the way they interact with those followers in a constructive way. The key to leadership is influence. And a preceptor needs to be able to positively influence students. To inspire them to want to learn. And to want to seek knowledge. And to do the best that they can during a rotation. And that involves good interactions and good people skills. And the last and perhaps most important step is ethical skills. The students need to be able to see the character. The honesty, integrity and the commitment of their preceptors. It’s a matter of demonstrating the ability to consistently do the right thing, no matter what.
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This is based in moral courage, the ability to do what’s right regardless of the circumstances. If students witness in their preceptors, such high-level character, they experience constructive of people skills and communication skills from the preceptors. And they appreciate the clinical competence of their preceptors. That preceptor will have maximum influence on the performance of the student. Let me emphasize a little bit about the difference between a good preceptor and a great preceptor. We want to be able to take precepting to a higher level. Not just be good but be great. Now good preceptors guide students to a level of competence. When we are seeking a level of competence, that’s a fixed trait. It’s a minimum standard.
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Preceptor influence in that situation lasts about the life of the rotation. And once the student moves on to another rotation, the influence of the preceptor is pretty much loss. That comes from a transactional relationship. What we mean by a transactional relationship is essentially there’s a transaction. In an educational setting, the preceptor expect the student to engage in certain activities. And if the student does, then is a transaction the preceptor gives the student a passing grade or whatever grade it is that the student seeks. It’s a transaction. Compare that to a transformational relationship, in which, is not a transaction where the student is doing what the preceptor wants in order to earn a grade.
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In a transformational relationship, the preceptor and the students have mutual goals. The preceptor and student both are committed to student growth and development and learning. And it totally changes the dynamic of the preceptor- student relationship. Great preceptors inspire students to achieve excellence. Not just competence. The target is unlimited. The student is pursuing his or her optimum, maximum potential. The preceptors influence in this situation can last a lifetime. And the students will remember and appreciate what the preceptor has done for them for many many years. From my own experience, students with whom I developed a transformational relationship. Many of them pursued a mentoring relationship with me as a result of that.
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And others, years later, would come back and thank me for the experience that they had. That’s the kind of results that preceptors should pursue. And when it happens; when that student comes back to thank you years later. It’s an extremely rewarding experience and a great feeling. The whole idea is that you develop a relationship with the students, such a different influence them and help to maximize their personal and professional growth. Now occasionally, from time to time, there’s a student who wants to develop a much closer and more expensive relationship. They’re seeking a mentor from their preceptor. So let’s consider a little bit about mentorship. This definition is from Anderson and Shannon in 1995.
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And they wrote that a mentorship is a nurturing process, in which a more skilled or more experienced person serving as a role model. Teaches, sponsors, encourages, councils and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting the latter’s professional and personal development. Now this is a special relationship. It’s generally long-term, ongoing. And it’s always voluntary. It’s based on a chemistry between the two. The connection that’s made. You can’t assign a student to a mentor. That doesn’t work. It has to evolve naturally. The mentor commits to helping the mentee in whatever way is needed. And oftentimes it extends beyond just teaching.
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They may seek career advice, or other types of advice, various forms of guidance from the mentor. It’s mutually beneficial. The mentor benefits from this relationship as the mentee does. And it’s rewarding for both. It’s a special experience. And if you have the opportunity as a preceptor to mentor students, I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of that opportunity. It doesn’t happen often. You won’t have many students pursuing a mentoring relationship with you. But when it does occur, it can be very special. It’s like precepting on steroids. The top 10 qualities of great rotations. Let me review these again. This is the list that I put together back about 13 years ago as a director of experiential education.
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And I think after we’ve covered everything in those first four sessions, much of this will be straightforward and common sense, and service as some of a review. First of all, students need to feel welcome at the site. Where there’s a need to have a good orientation program and the relationships that developed. The way a hospital personnel and pharmacy personnel interact with students is very important in order to make them feel welcome. Activities and assignments were relate to important learning outcomes. This gets back to that fundamental concept of having a clear target of what the students should achieve after going through the rotation. Assessment/grading procedures should be well-designed, relevant, and objective. It has to be planned out carefully and meticulously.
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And it pays dividends down the road. Assignments and activities should be carefully planned, scheduled, and organized. That’s what we discussed in session 3. Put structure into the rotation that maintains consistency. Student activities should be meaningful and involve services that will help them learn as they provide a meaningful service. This gets back to the concept of killing two birds with one stone. Accomplishing two goals at the same time. Student workload should be challenging but not overwhelming. Not easy but realistic, but also challenging. Pushing their comfort zones just a bit. Expectations of student performance should be clearly communicated and enforced. Students should always know what they should be doing and how well they’re doing it. Let’s get back to feedback and communication.
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Nothing is more disruptive to a good rotation. And students not having any idea what they should be doing, feeling as though they’re floundering are feeling bored because they don’t know what to do. Students should be pushed to expand the boundaries of their comfort zone. They might be reluctant to do some things, but it’s important for the preceptor to provide gentle guidance to push them beyond their comfort zones. Because once they do that, then they’ll realize that their capabilities are far beyond what they previously assumed.

The dynamics of leadership and professionalism are the same.

Good is not enough. In this video, Prof. Brown presents the differences between “good” and “great” preceptros as well as the “great” rotations.

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