Experiential Education

Pharmacy Students on a rotation in a health care clinic

The Office of Experiential Education develops and manages introductory (IPPE) and advanced (APPE) pharmacy practice experiences. This integral part of pharmacy education represents 30% of the curriculum and provides students the opportunity to apply their classroom and laboratory training in the basic pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice and to solve drug related problems in practice.UConn School of Pharmacy students can choose among over 80 different rotation experiences

About the Office of Experiential Education

The Office of Experiential Education develops and manages introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences. This integral part of pharmacy education represents 30% of the curriculum and provides students the opportunity to apply their classroom and laboratory training in the basic pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice and to solve drug related problems in practice. The Office of Experiential Education establishes practice sites and places students in appropriate rotations. They coordinate training for, and negotiate experience content with, the staff person at the rotation site, called a preceptor, who is responsible for providing the educational and training components for the student during their rotation.

This office also manages community service, service learning, and outreach activities that promote the profession and the School of Pharmacy. Functions of the Office of Experiential Education include: the establishment and management of rotation sites in acute care settings, community pharmacies, long term care facilities, HMO pharmacies, nuclear pharmacies, home care pharmacies, and other non traditional practice areas committed to patient care and student education; selection and development of preceptors; supervision of students by field coordinators and faculty; development of materials to evaluate student performance and assist preceptors in the use of these resources; and preparation of and submission of appropriate reports to the State Boards of Pharmacy.

The School of Pharmacy Experiential Education Advisory Board assists the office in fulfilling its mission as it relates to experiential education by providing advice and counsel to the dean and the director of experiential education in achieving their vision to provide educationally sound experience opportunities in all areas of pharmacy practice and by serving as advocates for School of Pharmacy with various practitioner groups in Connecticut and nationally.

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences – IPPEs

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) are essential and required for all students entering the professional pharmacy curriculum. They provide a broad overview of pharmacy practice and the various roles and responsibilities that pharmacists play within the health care system. The educational outcomes for these courses are professional socialization of the student, development of a practice philosophy focused on the provision of pharmacist-delivered patient care, and an appreciation for the importance of life-long learning as a health professional.

The IPPE courses were designed to provide students access to pharmacy practice in health promotion, community, hospital, and clinical settings and verify they have attained the basic knowledge needed to work in any venue of pharmacy practice. The majority of the student’s time will be spent away from the School of Pharmacy in actual community pharmacies, clinics, institutions (hospitals), and service learning activities. Preceptors will engage students in active,and clinically relevant, learning activities that require critical thinking and communication skills. [Preceptors are mentors responsible for coaching students rather than providing instruction.] The benefit gained by each student from experiential education is directly related to the extent the student takes direct responsibility for her/his own learning “active learning.” Over these courses, students will be required to learn and remember vital general pharmacy practice information.

Students enrolled in the IPPE courses are required to obtain 100-130 hours per year during the summer, fall, and/or spring semesters (P1, P2, & P3) in a specific pharmacy practice setting for a total of 300 hours by the completion of the P3 year. It is expected that students will complete IPPEs in both community and institutional practice settings as specified by the course coordinator and as required by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE.)

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences – APPEs

The Advanced Pharmacy Professional Experience Program (APPE) is an important and integral part of the pharmacy curriculum. It consists of a variety of four, required and five, elective, one-month experiential rotations. Students will gain experience by applying their coursework and laboratory training in the basic pharmaceutical sciences to solving drug-related problems in practice. The preceptor for the experiential site will provide the student with various practice experiences to help them develop their problem solving and practice skills.

The APPE rotations run from June through April and consist of nine, one-month experience cycles. Each student will have one, randomly assigned month and the month of December off.

The Office of Experiential Education provides the annual rotation schedule to students during the spring semester, prior to the first rotation month of June. While there are certain holidays observed by the university, the student is expected to schedule their time at the experiential site consistent with the holidays observed by the rotation site. Occasionally, the university may have closures, delays or early dismissals based on adverse weather conditions. Since weather conditions are often variable throughout the region, students and preceptors are advised to modify their schedule as deemed appropriate, and not based on the university’s closings/delays.

The student is responsible for scheduling activities required for completion of the rotation in conjunction with the preceptor. The student is required to adjust his/her schedule so that the majority of time spent at the pharmacy site is under the primary preceptor’s direct supervision. Preceptors are encouraged to create a schedule that offers students the opportunity to benefit from a full range of activities present during the course of the day. The experiential rotations will begin on the first day of each month and end on the last day of the month and will be a minimum of 160 hours. There is flexibility in creating the schedule; students, however, are expected to spend a minimum of eight hours per day, five days per week at the site, or at approved alternate site completing required activities. Because the benefits students gain from APPE rotations are heavily dependent upon learning from experiences, it is important that APPE rotations afford students a variety of active experiences and require studying and preparation work be reserved for off rotation times. Each month, field coordinators will visit students who are not assigned to UConn faculty members. Students are responsible for notifying their field coordinator of any schedule outside routine times (i.e., 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday). Any absences from a rotation must be reported and approved by the preceptor utilizing the RxPreceptor system.

From June through April (experiential year) three days will be excused for job and/or residency interviews. Interview days must be discussed in advance with preceptor. It will be up to the preceptor’s discretion how the student will fulfill the requirements of the rotation. Interview days must be electronically documented via the RxPreceptor system.

Preceptor Information, Requirements and Responsibilities

A preceptor is a teacher and mentor who guides students through their introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences, known as IPPEs and APPEs. IPPE students complete 300 hours, 100-120 hours per year, of service during their first three years of pharmacy school. APPE students complete a series of month-long rotations at a practice site gaining in-depth experience in the day-to-day issues faced by practicing pharmacists. Who makes a good preceptor? If you are committed to the success of the student and are interested in, and enthusiastic about your job, then precepting might be right for you. Visit our Preceptors of the Year page to learn more about those preceptors that have been selected by our students for their excellence and commitment. Precepting is a rewarding experience and you’ll find many benefits come with the experience. Contact the Office of Experiential Education or fill out our online interest form to learn more!