When pharmacy students arrive for a rotation at Holcomb Pharmacy in Broken Bow, they can expect their comfort zone to, shall we say, expand.
Mike Holcomb, Pharm.D., a 1990 University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy graduate, likes to tailor the rotations through his pharmacy to the experience level of the students.
“If a student has done a lot of nursing home work, we stay completely away from nursing homes when it comes to our work with that student,” said Dr. Holcomb, who received the College of Pharmacy’s 2011 Preceptor of the Year Award. “I set their rotations to build their strengths in new areas for them.”
Holcomb Pharmacy is a family-run business in Broken Bow that has been in operation since 1938. Mike’s grandfather started the business, then his father ran it, and now he does. He has been working as a preceptor with students since about 1995.
“I like to see what we can teach each other,” says Holcomb when asked what he considers to be the most rewarding part of being a preceptor.
“I always ask the students, ‘What do you think I can do to improve my pharmacy?’ They often have excellent ideas that I have been able to implement. Conversely, it’s fun to teach them things they don’t learn in pharmacy school, which often relates to the business side of running a pharmacy.”
Holcomb describes one of his favorite experiences with a student as a preceptor.
“I once took a student to a live radio segment focused on blood glucose monitors,” Holcomb recalls.
“The student, who was terrified to be on the radio to start with, was asked to conduct a blood glucose test on an announcer. The student pricked the announcer’s finger but no blood came out. She did it again. Still no blood. This scene repeated about six times until finally I grabbed the host’s hand and really stuck him hard with a needle, which finally drew some blood. Although mortified, the student did a great job keeping her cool and the announcer had a great sense of homor about it.”
Holcomb recalls his own experience with preceptors when he, himself, was a pharmacy student.
“I had several good ones, and some who shoed me how not to handle rotations.”
“The main thing I took away,” Holcomb explains, “was to not use a student as just another worker, but rather to see what I can offer him or her educationally.”