Preceptors oversee pharmacy students’ clinical experiences and serve as mentors. The students nominate candidates for the awards.
Tortolani graduated from URI with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1979 and has maintained a close relationship with the University since then. He began his work as a preceptor in 1983 and has continued to mentor students for 25 years.
“I love to teach new pharmacists,” the Johnston resident said. “It’s so rewarding. I always tell them, ‘If you learn your pharmacy skills in school, I will teach you the business in the business world.’”
Tortolani was the owner of Golini Drug in Cranston for 17 years and currently works at Walgreen’s in Johnston, where he trains both Walgreen’s interns and URI students.
“You have to be a people person to work retail and the preceptor program offers students critical exposure, which gives them an idea of which avenue of pharmacy they want to follow,” Tortolani said.
A URI student who worked with Tortolani admired the dedicated mentor’s patience and service skills and said, “I hope one day to be as knowledgeable and as loyal to patients as he was during my internship.”
Tortolani is also an active member of the field, having once served as president of the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association and presently serving as president of the Rhode Island Pharmacy Foundation. Yet he commented that receiving this award is one of the “highlights of my career.”
LOCAL PHARMACIST RECOGNIZED: Honoree Robert Tortolani, center, stands alongside Brett Feret, left, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice and Ronald P. Jordan, dean of the College of Pharmacy, after being presented with the “Preceptor of the Year” award. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Dave Lavallee.