From Student, to Pharmacist, to Preceptor, to Corporate Manager
Preceptors mentor future pharmacists. (And pharmacy careers can happen quickly!)
by Stephen Vodhanel, PhD
For Greg Harrington, PharmD, the challenge of pharmacy school was extensive, but the challenges of career opportunities moved all too fast. In a period of less than two years, Dr. Harrington has progressed from student, to pharmacist, to pharmacy manager, to preceptor, to corporate professional that includes special projects in the Las Vegas area. Greg also has received the Region 72 Paragon Award for CVS. CVS gives the Paragon Award solely to their very top performers.
“The pharmacy profession is vast with many career opportunities. It is very important as an intern to gain as much experience as you can. As a pharmacist, once you are licensed your perspective of the profession changes and career opportunities can happen very quickly. Hopefully you are prepared to make an informed decision.” said Dr. Harrington.
Dr. Harrington does find the time to assist the Loma Linda School of Pharmacy by precepting students in a manner beneficial to both students and CVS/Caremark.
“I was fortunate to work with great preceptors, some who have been pharmacists for 25 and 30 years, and this made a huge impact on me. And, I want to make sure I have the opportunity to influence other students. As a preceptor, I get a chance to use my experience in making students become good pharmacists in the same manner as those preceptors who helped me. I have this saying…learn the hard way by yourself, or learn the easy way through the experience of others. And in this profession, learning the hard way by yourself can be a costly mistake,” stated Dr. Harrington.
According to Dr. Harrington, precepting is also a valuable experience for any corporate or professional entity. “Through precepting we get a real close look at a student’s skills and knowledge, but also how they will handle themselves in an often stressful situation that demands good people skills. Students need to understand that the pharmacy profession truly is a small family and that every rotation is a potential audition for a job. Take each rotation seriously and work professionally, as you may meet these same people later in your career, or, and this is common, someone in an interview will know that person whom you once worked under,” said Dr. Harrington.
Dr. Harrington also simply enjoys the precepting experience. “It’s fun and a great way to stay in contact with your school. Every six weeks or so we get to meet another student on their path to becoming a pharmacist, and we look forward to this time. We’ve had some really great students, and actually hired a few along the way,” stated Dr. Harrington.
“But as a last thing, show me a pharmacist who made it without preceptors. We all owe it to our profession to take on the responsibility of precepting, as those did before us. As a student, if you had a great experience during a rotation, as a preceptor try to emulate that same great experience. If you had a terrible experience during a rotation, learn from that experience to make your interaction with students better. Precepting is a rewarding experience,” added Dr. Harrington.