Janet Astle

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Karen Levitt

Committee Member

Joseph Kush

Committee Member

Susan Meyer


Behaviors, Characteristics, Experiential, Pharmacy, Preceptor


Thirty percent of the doctor of pharmacy degree program, the sole degree recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (APCE), is dedicated to experiential education. Experiential education is comprised of introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPE's), which are interwoven throughout the first three years of the professional curriculum, and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE's), which serve as a capstone in the final year of the degree program. The majority of these experiences are supervised by external pharmacist practitioners or preceptors. Although ACPE mandates adequate preparation and development for preceptors, it does not define the content of such training. Little is understood regarding effective preceptor characteristics and behaviors. The pharmacy literature in this area is scant.

Studies in the medical, nursing, and other health-related professional literature suggest that students and preceptors do not always agree on preceptor characteristics and behaviors that are conducive to student learning. Other studies suggest that students who are more experienced may value preceptor characteristics and behaviors differently than novice students.

This study conducted a qualitative content analysis to identify preceptor characteristics and behaviors that are valued by experiential experts and pharmacy students. It further examined whether there are differences in the value placed on these characteristics and behaviors between experiential experts and students and between the IPPE and APPE students. Preceptor evaluation instruments as developed by experiential experts from 44 schools of pharmacy and open-ended comments derived from preceptor evaluation instruments completed by IPPE and APPE students from Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy over the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years were analyzed.

Results uncovered four distinct themes: preceptor as professional, instructor, support, and partner. These themes find their roots in transformational leadership theory, adult learning theory, social cognitive theory, and experiential learning models. Results also demonstrated that IPPE and APPE students closely resemble each other in the value they place on desirable preceptor characteristics and behaviors. There was weak correlation between the experiential expert and student voices. Results from this study can be foundational to future research and used to inform preceptor selection criteria, preceptor development programs, and the design of preceptor evaluation instruments.