UAB School of Nursing Preceptor


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.



Preceptor Information Form
Picture


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.
  • Provide feedback to the faculty on the student(s).

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

As nurses, we are taught from the earliest days of nursing school to listen to our patients. As nurse practitioner educators, we know the value of listening to those nurse practitioners in the trenches who are precepting our students. Your feedback is valuable in order to learn not only more about our students, but also about our program.

At two recent nurse practitioner group meetings, faculty members asked some attendees to answer the following questions:

  • For those who have precepted a student, write down one positive and one not-so-positive experience.
  • For those who have never precepted, write at least one challenge to precepting a student.
  • If you are an experienced preceptor, please share a clinical education pearl that has helped you along the way.

The following are some of what we learned.

Positive Preceptor benefits:

  • “Makes me think about why we do what we do.”
  • “I enjoyed giving back to students and teaching is a great way to improve my knowledge base.”
  • “Keeps me honest to evidence-based practice”
  • “Promoting the profession”
  • “Get me out of my comfort zone”
  • “Different perspective – noticed things I didn’t before”

Preceptors, like most nurses, are driven by their altruistic qualities, and found precepting provide personal rewards:

  • “Seeing the student have that ‘ah-ha moment’ when teaching”
  • “Watching students become more confident”
  • "Giving back to the community”
  • “Remembering how hard it is as a student to find a preceptor and being that for them”
  • “Feeling of contribution – help another achieve his or her goal”
  • “Being a mentor”

Students who are engaged and eager to learn often inspire and challenge the preceptor:

  • “Eager to learn, professional, excellent questions”
  • “Great initiative to seek different types of patients; enhances learning experience.”
  • “Students bring energy to the clinic and enhance clinic atmosphere.”
  • “Students inquisitive nature” (positive student quality)
  • “My most recent student was excellent and actually helped me/saved me time rather than costing me more time.”

A precepting arrangement can be a month-long job interview...

  • (Can provide for observation of) ...“potential new hires”

and can facilitate long term relationships.

  • “Student contacted me after being hired in my area.”
  • (Facilitates)..“building peer relationships”
  • (Precepted as RN) – “a student that I precepted came to work in my unit and did great and was a great coworker!”

One preceptor said it best:

  • (The student) ”brought out the best in me.”

All of the anecdotal responses we received were varied, transparent and insightful. The UAB School of Nursing values our preceptors and the work done on behalf of our students. Our preceptors are one of the reasons the UAB School of Nursing is one of the top schools of nursing in the country. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for being part of our team. As always, if you have feedback, we would like to hear from you.

Featured preceptor

Featured preceptor

Melanie Baucom, DNP, 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.

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 didactic 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

For more information about precepting

Subscribe to our Newsletter:


Please let us know your email address. To subscribe to our weekly newsletter, please enter your email address.


Invalid Input


Preceptor FAQs

Q: When can I start precepting?

Answer

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?

Answer

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?

Answer

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 of this 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?

Answer

The faculty member/instructor will be contacting you within the first week of clinical with the student.

In addition, you will receive a Welcome Letter from the faculty and it will also contain contact information.

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

Answer

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 week of clinical with the preceptor, the faculty member/ instructor will contact the preceptor and setup a meeting (via face-to-face or virtual conference meeting) and the student to introduce themselves.

The preceptor should expect at least 2 calls from the instructor to learn of any problems and to determine student progression during the term.

Q: What is expected of me as a preceptor?

Answer

Please see the "roll of a preceptor" section.

The faculty value your feedback on the students you precept. We will reach out to obtain it; however at any time, you may contact us.

In addition, 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 http://sa.uab.edu/enrollmentservices/ferpa/

Q: What is expected of the student?

Answer

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 course overview and topic outline will be provided for the students's current practicum course. You will also receive a copy of the Student Expectations and the Preceptor Expectations each term.

The student must maintain current unencumbered, unrestricted 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?

Answer

Students will be evaluated by their faculty member/ instructor on a weekly basis.

Clinical conferences, H & P notes, SOAP notes, simulations, tests, 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.