Photo: Melanie Baucom Melanie Baucom, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC

Featured Preceptor

Melanie Baucom, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC

Melanie Baucom is Director of Clinical Operations at the Bessemer Neighborhood Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center as designated by the Health Resources and Service Administration, and a collaborative partnership among the School, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and Aletheia House, focusing on providing health care to the underserved. She leads UAB School of Nursing-affiliated nurse practitioners at the Center who provide a full range of services including blood pressure management, diabetes management and treatment of acute illnesses. Read more...

The role of a preceptor

The purpose of the experience is to provide the nurse practitioner student with an opportunity to participate in:
  • health assessment of patients
  • counseling and guidance in accordance with identified needs
  • management of the care of patients in consultation with the preceptor.

The student is expected to consult with the preceptor regarding each patient seen and to record the visits in the format appropriate to the clinic’s standards. At all times, the student functions under the supervision of the preceptor.

Preceptors also:

  • Agree to accept responsibility for a nurse practitioner student for a specified time.
  • Generally, develop a learning environment for the student that includes:
    • Sufficient exam rooms so the student may function at a novice pace.
    • Opportunities to do histories and physical exams, make a tentative assessment, present orally to you, propose appropriate diagnoses and therapeutic plans, and write up the encounter as part of the permanent chart/record.
    • Follow-up with the patient by the preceptor who will critique the proposed assessment and care plan.
    • Opportunity for the student to observe or participate in managing patients within their scope of practice who present with a problem of general educational interest.
    • Guidance in performing clinical procedures that are consistent with the student’s learning objectives while under the supervision of the preceptor.
    • If deemed necessary by the preceptor or faculty, a brief meeting at your clinic with the academic faculty/instructor overseeing the student’s work.
  • Help clinic staff understand that the nurse practitioner student will function as a health care provider.

Benefits of being a preceptor

Many certification agencies allow for preceptorship hours to be counted towards the renewal of a certification. Each agency carries their own set of categories or guidelines. Please contact your certification agency for more details.

Why should I precept?


Well… let’s ask our preceptors

Become a preceptor today


Graduate nursing education provides the academic preparation and skills necessary for role development in advanced nursing practice. Students start their inquiry into advanced nursing in classroom theory courses, followed by a step-wise integration into practice under the dual supervision of community-based preceptors and faculty instructors. The step-wise integration into practice means that students rehearse decision-making and intervention skills in practice-oriented courses, which build upon the knowledge acquired in the classroom. The dual oversight of the preceptor and the faculty instructor will ensure that students achieve the necessary steps of practice and make successful transitions.

We know that you are fully engaged in your own practices, and are balancing all of the clinical and administrative responsibilities for your own patients and staff. We are fully cognizant of how much mentoring a student adds to your workload. Our faculty members are committed to ensuring that the students make a meaningful contribution to your practice while learning. Please connect with our faculty and/or staff directly if there is anything that we might do to improve our collaboration and your ability to help our students succeed. Your contribution is important, meaningful and appreciated.

Preceptor Information Form

Preceptor FAQs


Q: When can I start precepting?

MDs, DOs, and NPs can begin precepting after one year of experience.
The School of Nursing offers clinical practicums every semester. Each semester is 14 weeks in length.

Q: What are the requirements to precept?

You must be a board eligible or certified MD, DO, or NP and practice within the student’s population focus.

Q: What is the process for students?

That depends on the site or agency. Some sites have asked the SON to assist in the process (e.g., UAB hospital and UAB entities to name a few) while others wish to have students contact potential preceptors on their own. Regardless ofthis process, all students must submit a Preceptor Planning Form for a future term. Then this Preceptor Planning Form is approved by the faculty and the staff at the School of Nursing before a student is released to start their practicum.

Q: How will I know who to contact at the school once I start precepting a student?

The faculty member/ instructor will be contacting you within the first 2 weeks of the semester. In addition, you will receive a Welcome Letter from the faculty.

Q: How often should I expect to hear from the student’s instructor?


The UAB School of Nursing faculty member/ instructor for this student will make specified contact with the preceptor and the student as follows:

In the first two weeks of the semester, the faculty member/ instructor will contact the preceptor (by email or phone) and the student to introduce themselves and to learn of any problems and to determine student progression. The preceptor should expect at least 2 calls from the instructor during the term.

Q: What is expected of me as a preceptor?

Preceptors are expected to follow established FERPA laws at all times during and after the student experience. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law governing the privacy and handling of educational records/information and giving specific rights to students. You can read more about FERPA at the Family Policy Compliance Office or at

Q: What is expected of the student?

In collaboration with the supervising preceptor, the student should be able to:
  1. Perform complete histories and physical examinations in a manner appropriate for the patient.
  2. Differentiate normal and abnormal findings based on the physical examination, history, laboratory findings, and other tests and procedures.
  3. Develop a working diagnosis, differential diagnosis, or a problem list and a preliminary plan.
  4. Identify and explain significant pathophysiology related to the patient's clinical problem.
  5. Problem solve through evaluation of history and physical examination, usage of established criteria for management, and collaboration with preceptor on a plan of care.
  6. Present and record findings in a concise, accurate, and organized manner.
  7. Institute and provide continuity of care. Interact with the patient to assure understanding of and compliance with the therapeutic regimen.
  8. Provide instruction and counseling regarding health promotion, patient teaching, discharge planning, family care, etc., as appropriate to the patient and/or family.
  9. Consider the cost implications of care provided.
  10. Recognize when to refer to a physician or other health care provider.
  11. Coordinate care with other health professionals and agencies.
  12. Demonstrate appropriate interpersonal relationships with staff, patients, families, and other health professionals.

Students may NOT see any patient outside of their specialty’s scope of practice. For example, Adult-Gero Primary NP students will see only adult patients. No children should be seen.

Each student is approved at a particular site, agency, and/or hospital (via preceptor planning form approval). Students may NOT see patients in sites, agencies, or hospitals that they do not have approval (via preceptor planning form). In addition, students are only approved to see patients with their preceptor(s) of record. Again, this is determined by the submitted and approved preceptor planning form.

The student is also expected to provide a copy of the course overview and topical outline for their current course as well as submit signed copies of the Student Expectations and the Preceptor Expectations each term.

The student must maintain current RN licensure in the state in which they are practicing as a student. Additionally, they will maintain current CPR licensure.

Q: What is expected of the School of Nursing Faculty?


Students will be evaluated by their faculty member/ instructor on a weekly basis. Clinical conferences, H & P notes, SOAP notes, and other activities are used to determine competency. In addition, the student either comes to campus to participate in an Objective Structured Clinical Evaluation (known as an OSCE) or they complete an OSCE virtually.

Faculty may require the student to come to campus for additional clinical activities (OSCE or standardized patient scenarios) if concerns are identified by either the instructor or preceptor. At times, a site visit may be necessary.

Faculty member/ instructor will obtain feedback from preceptors at each student’s midpoint in the course as well as the end of the term.

Helpful Links


If you are interested in more information about precepting contact: 

Crystal Adams, MSN, RN
205-996-4081  |

For information about enrolling in our DNP Program click here.

For information about enrolling in our PhD Program click here.



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UAB School of Nursing Honors Program

The UAB School of Nursing Honors Program provides unique experiential learning opportunities in research where students are introduced to basic research concepts and provided the opportunity to complete defined research activities as part of a faculty research team. Students will have the opportunity to explore the role and career path of a nurse scientist. All undergraduate nursing students are eligible to apply for admission to the Nursing Honors Program, including BSN and RN-BSN Mobility students.


Students must meet the following criteria to be considered for acceptance into the Nursing Honors Program:
  • A minimum 3.40 GPA in BSN Foundation courses
  • A minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA for courses completed at UAB and at other Universities


To apply for admission to the UAB School of Nursing Honors Program, interested students must:
  • Complete and submit the Honors Program Application Form
  • Write a one-page essay on how the Honors Program will contribute to the achievement of your future professional goals
  • Complete an interview with an Honors Program Selection Committee

All application materials are reviewed in the process of selection of Nursing Honors Program participants.


Honors Program participants must:
    • Maintain a minimum overall UAB GPA of 3.00, and a minimum 3.25 GPA in completed nursing coursework
    • Complete the required six credit hours of Nursing Honors Program Courses (NUR 450, NUR 451, and NUR 452)

Special Recognition


Students who successfully complete the Nursing Honors Program will receive a certificate of acknowledgement at the UAB Honors Convocation and will graduate “With Honors in Nursing.” Students who participate in both the UAB Honors Program and the School of Nursing Honors program will graduate “With University Honors in Nursing.”

For More Information:

 morrison Shannon Morrison, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC
Honors Program Director
      We acknowledge the Endowed Fund that provides support to the Nursing Honors Program that was established by Celia A. Wallace on February 4, 2005 to honor Kristen Celia and Gerald Leon Wallace, Jr.

UAB School of Nursing Dean's Nursing Scholars

The Dean’s Nursing Scholar program is designed for academically talented high school seniors who are strongly considering a career in nursing. Scholars receive a number of benefits, including:

  • Opportunities to visit the School of Nursing to attend special events designed for the Scholars to learn about nursing and the BSN program
  • Priority admission to the highly ranked and competitive BSN nursing program as long as the Scholar:
      • Enrolls at UAB directly from high school
      • Successfully completes the required undergraduate pre-requisite foundation and core classes
      • Achieves and maintains a 3.2 or higher GPA in the required nursing pre-requisite courses
      • Maintains a minimum overall 3.0 GPA

    Criteria for Selection

        Individuals selected for the Dean’s Nursing Scholars must:

        • Be a high school senior
        • Achieve a composite ACT score of 25 or above or an equivalent composite SAT score
        • Possess a minimum high school grade point average of 3.2
        • Be admitted to UAB through the UAB Office of Undergraduate Admissions

    Application Process

        All applications must be submitted by the posted deadline. All applicants must:

        • Complete the admission application through the UAB Office of Undergraduate Admissions

    Applicants with an ACT score of 25 or higher should and a High School GPA of 3.2 or higher will be select as School of Nursing- Dean’s Nursing Scholar as part of your admission’s offer. All application materials are reviewed in the process of selection of Dean’s Nursing Scholars.


    Application deadline is December 1 for priority consideration, and applications will be accepted through May 1 of a student’s senior year of high school, on a space available basis.


About the Jonas Scholars


The Jonas Nurse Scholar program supports doctoral nursing students pursing both PhD and DNP degrees. The goal of the Jonas Nurse Leaders Program is to increase the number of doctorally-prepared faculty available to teach in nursing schools nationwide, as well as the number of advanced practice nurses providing direct patient care. The Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program is a component of the Nurse Scholar Program that aims to increase the number of advanced practice nurses and faculty who are trained specifically in the unique needs of our veteran population.

Supported by the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, both programs provide financial assistance, leadership development and networking support to expand the pipeline of future nurse faculty and advanced practice nurses. As part of their scholarship experience, all Jonas Scholar attend the Jonas Nurse Scholar Conference, a three-day event in Washington, DC, designed to convene the current Jonas Scholars for networking, mentoring and educational opportunities with prominent nurse educators, executives and policy experts in the field.

2015 Jonas Scholars


Nolan Timya 2Jonas IV Nurse Leader Scholar
Timiya Nolan, CRNP, ANP-BC
PhD Student

Timiya S. Nolan is a two-time graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing (BSN-2008; MSN-2011). She holds certification as an adult nurse practitioner and teacher of nursing. Timiya's nursing background is in hematology/oncology and primary care. In these settings, she has been an active team member who effectively communicates, treats, collaborates, and establishes rapport. As a former full-time instructor of adult health at UAB, she has become skilled in the design of challenging, enriching, and innovative learning activities. She volunteers as nurse practitioner in the medical ministry of The Worship Center Christian Church and the PATH Clinic of Birmingham, Alabama. She is the Membership Chairperson within the Central Alabama Nurse Practitioner Association. Academically, Timiya is a full-time pre-doctoral fellow enrolled in UAB's Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program. Her research interest involves reduction of health-related disparities within breast cancer survivorship. Particularly, she is interested in understanding and bettering the survivorship of young African American breast cancer survivors with dissemination and implementation of age-specific and culturally-sensitive interventions. As a Jonas Scholar, she will use her research and teaching expertise to assist with the development and implementation of the Alabama Oncology Nursing Society’s semi-annual conference.


student photoJonas IV Veterans DNP Healthcare Scholar
Karen Thombley, C-NPT, NNP-BC, RNC-NIC
DNP Student

Karen Thombley's nursing career began in 1986 when she pursued an LPN degree. She graduated in 1988 and briefly worked as a charge nurse in a nursing home. She knew there was more and desired to continue her education. She moved to Oklahoma and returned to school to complete her BSN in 1991, after which she began working in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Ms. Thombley had incredible medical and nursing mentors and soon learned that neonatal nursing was her passion. In 1995 she joined the US Air Force. Her 19-year career has all been spent in the neonatal specialty between three military treatment facilities: Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, TX-7.



Nicholson Chance 1Jonas IV Veterans PhD Healthcare Scholar
Chance Nicholson, MSN, BS, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, RN-BC
PhD Student

Chance Nicholson, MSN, BS, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, RN-BC, is a first year academic faculty member in the university setting who is also seeking his PhD at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) after receiving his MSN in 2013. Currently, he is investigating the role of the vagus nerve in HIV neurocognitive disorders. Furthermore, he is exploring the relationship between the vagus nerve and PTSD. His current faculty practice is through the Veterans Administration as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at an outpatient clinic in Bessemer, Alabama. The faculty practice was developed through a partnership with UAB where he has served as a clinical preceptor and instructor in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. The partnership is one of only four in the country. He is a recent recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau Rising Research Star award. Formerly, he worked as an RN in the psychiatric intensive care unit at UAB. In this role, he served as the president of the psychiatric nursing congress and it was in this this role where he developed a nutritional model at UAB hospital. For this work, he received an innovation award along with an award of clinical excellence. Furthermore, he served as the primary committee member of the psychiatric patient satisfaction team where the hospital improved its overall scores from the 20th percentile to the 90th percentile. Additionally, he has published in the arenas of addiction, game theory and healthcare, and personality disorders. Prior to nursing, he received a bachelor's degree in psychology where he researched in the field of clinical psychology and worked as an addiction counselor associate at Pine Grove Mental Health in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.