School of Pharmacy

Valerie Davis

Preceptor of the Year 2018-19

Valerie Davis and Kem KruegerThe University of Wyoming (UW) School of Pharmacy awarded two Preceptors of the Year for the 2018-19 academic year. Pharmacist, Valerie Davis, who precepts students at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, CO was one of the award recipients. Valerie was interviewed to find out what she does to earn the respect and admiration of her students so that other preceptors can learn from her.  Below is her background experience, as well as her tips and ideas on ways to educate and motivate students.

Valerie graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1997 and then went on to complete a one-year general residency at the VA Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona.  After her residency, Valerie conducted pharmacoeconomic research at the VA Medical Center in partnership with the University of Arizona for about six months.  Since then, Valerie has had various clinical positions: Ambulatory Care Clinical Pharmacist, Internal Medicine Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Anticoagulation Pharmacist, Pain Management Pharmacist and most recently the Clinical Pharmacy Manager at Sky Ridge Medical Center. All of these experiences greatly assisted Valerie in her professional development which she can then share with her students.

Over the past 20 years, Valerie has always served in some capacity as a preceptor.  She established a pharmacy residency program at a hospital where she worked as an Internal Medicine Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and has precepted pharmacy students at every site she has worked at. Valerie appreciates the energy and enthusiasm that students bring, and enjoys helping them apply their knowledge to patient care.

A piece of advice Valerie regularly uses comes from her residency director and is advice worth sharing.  “Students come to you at all different levels of experience and learning, so it’s important to assess their foundation and help them progress from there.  It’s your job as the preceptor to help guide them to the next level.”  She tries to tailor each rotation to the student’s interests and set expectations for them, but she also holds the student accountable for their learning. Valerie enjoys coaching and providing feedback to the students, and watching them take their new knowledge and apply it to patient care. 

Another strategy Valerie uses as a preceptor is to make an effort to connect with her students starting on day one of the rotation and throughout their time with her.  On the first day of the rotation she meets with the student to welcome and orient them, and to set expectations. Also, she shares her story of how she got to where she is now and how she can help them meet their goals.  Valerie then checks in with the student and encourages them to provide feedback throughout the rotation.  Pharmacy students are considered part of the pharmacy team. They are encouraged to attend meetings and take a lunch break with the pharmacists. It’s a great way to get to know the student and their interests outside of pharmacy.

Another pearl Valerie shared is how she deals with difficult students or situations.  She asks the student to share their point of view and how they can assist in resolving the issue. This opens up a discussion and allows the student to express themselves.

Valerie was also recently named Preceptor of the Year for Creighton University.  Go Valerie!  With that honor, she received a subscription to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) list serve.  When she has time she delves into various preceptor development topics such as ways to improve learning activities at their APPE site.  She finds developing her teaching skills very interesting and it has opened her up to another perspective of rotations…that of the school’s.

Valerie is fortunate enough to work with a great team of pharmacists who also like to precept and teach students.  This allows students to work with other pharmacists and become a part of the team.  Students in turn feel that this maximizes their learning as they are able to work and learn in the many pharmacy settings at Sky Ridge.  Students have commented that they feel like they gain a better understanding of hospital pharmacy from all the exposure Valerie affords them while on rotation with her.


Thank you, Valerie!


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