Finding a preceptor

  1. 0
    I just wanted to inquire about finding a preceptor. My school has encouraged us to find our own PNP preceptors for summer session if we would like to have clinical closer to home. I would really prefer a PNP instead of a pediatrician. I looked up a few of the pediatric practices I know of on the internet and found a few PNPs. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to approach or inquire about a preceptorship from these complete strangers? Has anyone else gone through this? I am looking the in the Washington DC or Prince Georges/Montgomery county area, let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights: Student Edition newsletter.

  2. 10 Comments...

  3. 1
    I would call the pediatrician offices in your area and leave a message for the PNP. If he/she is interested, they will call you back. I did this to try and get some dermatology experience, the FNP did not return my calls so I knew she was not interested in precepting.
    Call the larger groups, they would have more nurse practitioners.
    JazzyRN likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from jazzyrn
    i just wanted to inquire about finding a preceptor. my school has encouraged us to find our own pnp preceptors for summer session if we would like to have clinical closer to home. i would really prefer a pnp instead of a pediatrician. i looked up a few of the pediatric practices i know of on the internet and found a few pnps. i was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to approach or inquire about a preceptorship from these complete strangers? has anyone else gone through this? i am looking the in the washington dc or prince georges/montgomery county area, let me know if you have any suggestions. thanks.
    i would not limit myself to pnps. a pediatrician can have much to offer as well. plus, it is likely that you will be collaborating with a physician when you are done, and this can give you some valuable insight into that partnership. my next rotation is with a physician, and i am looking forward to working with her. all of my previous preceptors have been nps, and they have been great, but i think i will enjoy seeing a different perspective. who knows? maybe it won’t be so different, and that will be informative, too.

    other sources for potential preceptors are other np students in your area even those from other programs. i found 2 clinical sites this way.

    another possible resource is the website npcentral.net. they have a searchable database. don't know how up to date it is, but it is worth a shot.

    hope that helps,
    ivan
  5. 1
    As you get ready to make that initial contact ... Think about the situation from the potential preceptor's perspective. What's in it for them? Why should they help you? Be sure your approach addresses that reasonable question that will probably pop up in their minds.

    I am involved with the placing of nursing students for my children's hospital. I don't usually handle the NP students in the outpatient areas (I have a colleague who does that.) ... but I sometimes get those initial phone calls. Living in an area with 2 local NP programs, we get contacted by well over a dozen students per year looking for placements. That's not counting the 500 undergraduate nursing students wanting to observe in those same clinical sites, 500 EMS personnel seeking experience doing pediatric assessments, LPN and MA students seeking experiences in clinics and offices, and a local medical school's students.

    We simply can't provide free education to that people. Yes, many people feel a professional obligation to help students out when they can, but the volume of students requesting such favors (and that's what it is, a favor) is overwhelming the system. The types of NP students who are most likely to get accepted by a preceptor are those who have connections with the people who work in that setting or who are seen as someone that the clinic or physician's practice might want to hire within the next year or so. If they are thinking about hiring you, the preceptorship becomes a way for them to provide you with the training/orientation they want you to have while also assessing you to see how good of an employee you will be. In other words, the relationship is mutually beneficial: each party is getting something of value out of it. Having relevant job experience in which you developed a positive reputation among the physicians and NP's you hope to work with is also a big advantage. The people least likely to find a preceptor are the people who are simply "strangers off the street" who are asking for someone to donate their time in exchange for nothing.

    So ... do you know anyone who works in a setting that interests you? ... Where do you plan on working after graduation? .... Does your resume include relevant experience that would catch their attention? .... Is there someone familiar with your professional skills who can provide an introduction and recommendation for you? etc.

    In short, don't just be a "stranger off the street" presenting yourself looking for a handout. Present yourself as a student looking for a preceptor using much of the same techniques you would use to find and land a job.

    Another thought ... make it clear you are prepared to work the "off-shifts," weekends, etc. There are fewer students at those times and you might some NP's staffing those clinics that will see you as someone handy to have around during those shifts when they may have fewer resources. The NP's who work those shifts might get fewer requests. (I don't know, but it might be the case.) Make it clear that you are not limited to any particular hours or days.

    Good luck with your search.
    greatgirl123 likes this.
  6. 0
    To follow-up on llg's great post, think about how to answer "what is in it for them". Many schools pay preceptors (NP, DO, PA, and MD) directly. So a NP (or MD) who is already under pressure with their own practice might choose to precept for a program which will pay him/her a modest stipend per student. My program does not pay our NP preceptors, and for this reason have lost several NPs to other programs (including a DO program 3 hours away) that will pay NPs to precept students.

    I am not suggesting that you fork out your own money to pay a preceptor. But think offering to work "off hours" and with the possibility of working for them after you graduate could be enticing. LLG's post is full of very wise advice.
  7. 0
    Quote from JazzyRN
    I just wanted to inquire about finding a preceptor. My school has encouraged us to find our own PNP preceptors for summer session if we would like to have clinical closer to home. I would really prefer a PNP instead of a pediatrician. I looked up a few of the pediatric practices I know of on the internet and found a few PNPs. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to approach or inquire about a preceptorship from these complete strangers? Has anyone else gone through this? I am looking the in the Washington DC or Prince Georges/Montgomery county area, let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks.
    Did you find a preceptor to complete your preceptorship?

    Keep us updated!
  8. 0
    Yes I found a preceptor, actually 2 great preceptors, one PNP and one pediatrician. Thank you guys for your help and concern. I'll finally be done this December!
  9. 0
    Quote from JazzyRN
    Yes I found a preceptor, actually 2 great preceptors, one PNP and one pediatrician. Thank you guys for your help and concern. I'll finally be done this December!
    CONGRATULATIONS, JazzyRN!

  10. 0
    How does everybody feel about offering to do some non-clinical work for a practice that it willing to give you some hours. I have to do placements in a variety of places so I can't insinuate I might be able to work for all of them down the line and still feel ethical. Is it unprofessional to offer myself up for a certain number of hours of answering the phones or rearranging files or assisting with a presentation, etc.?
  11. 0
    Please let me know how you found your preceptors. Thanks.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top