CEWIL Resource Hub: Mandatory Professional Practicum/Clinical Placement at the University of Waterloo

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Key success factors

  • Experiential coordinators maintain strong professional relationships with partners and stakeholders on a provincial, national, and international basis.
  • The program focuses on quality of sites rather than quantity. There has been a steady shift towards recruitment of sites in certain practice areas in order to meet student demand.
  • Making small evidence-based, purposeful changes over time has proven to be a sound approach in terms of enhancing preceptor and student experiences, increasing work flow efficiencies and demonstrates our commitment to quality assurance and continuous quality improvement.

Unique characteristics

  • Students are assigned to a region for their rotations, meaning they may very likely be exposed to an unfamiliar community. Part of the experience is building relationships and trust with their patients and other health care providers.

  • The Regional Clinical Coordinator model facilitates the use of a Train-the-Trainer framework in order to accurately and effectively deliver content and messaging to a wider audience. Key messages from the Experiential Coordinator are communicated to the regional team, who then educate our 270 preceptors spread across 205 practice sites in Ontario.


  • When the healthcare sector experiences budgetary cutbacks as a whole, this typically impacts the resources available at the sites and their ability to support a learner. While the pharmacy profession has welcomed new clinical privileges and opportunities over the past decade, there have also been multiple changes to the pharmacy funding model. While students involved in patient care rotations are not paid, the sites may no longer be in a position to dedicate resources to hosting a learner.
  • There's competition from other pharmacy faculties in some regions, which means it's critical for the Regional Clinical Coordinator to have strong relationships with partners in these communities. If planned properly, sites can accept students from more than one institution at different times throughout the year.


Univeristy of Waterloo

Key characteristics

  • Type: Mandatory Professional Practicum/Clinical Placement
  • Year program was established: 2014
  • Number of students per year: 120
  • Number of employers/partners per year: 14 Regional Clinical Coordinators (RCC) who support 270 preceptors
  • Programs/academic disciplines participating: School of Pharmacy (PharmD)
  • Duration of experience: three eight-week rotations, of 40 hours per week
  • Submitted by: Nancy Waite