Failure to fail – Perspective from junior faculty preceptors on the challenges of evaluating underperforming students in the experiential learning environment

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Introduction: Preceptors serve as the gatekeepers between individuals progressing from student pharmacist to independent practitioner. This responsibility is challenging if a student is not progressing as required and is at risk of failure. In this article, we will review the potential consequences and barriers of “failing to fail” a student, share the emotions that come with the decision, and suggest actions that may aid in preceptor decision-making. Commentary: A preceptor's failure to fail a student has a global impact on many parties including the student, their future employer and patients, the preceptor, and the school or college of pharmacy. Despite supportive factors, preceptors may experience an internal struggle about the ripple effect of failing or not failing an experiential student. Implications: Underperformance in the experiential setting is a complex issue that remains largely unseen due to “failure to fail,” a concept that should be researched further in the pharmacy setting. Empowering preceptors, particularly newer preceptors, to assess and manage failing students is possible through increased discussion around the topic and focused preceptor development programs.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning