Finding your own clinical instructors?

  1. 1
    I am almost completed with my MSN in nursing education through Walden University. They are starting up an FNP (also adult/gerontology) program in the fall.

    I'm extremely interested, but not sure if it's the norm to have to locate your own preceptors???

    What is everyone's experience from what they have found or done?
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    It is the norm -- and it is a disgrace. An increasing number of schools are requiring students to find their own preceptors -- to provide their education for no recognition or renumeration. Meanwhile, the school collects your money. Schools should be ashamed of themselves and the profession should not allow it.

    But regretably, the practice has become the norm.
    CCRNDiva, BCgradnurse, Purple_Scrubs, and 1 other like this.
  5. 0
    That is really sad. The programs are all so expensive, and it seems like this takes so minimal of an effort from the schools and puts it upon the shoulders of someone who is already attending a strenuous program and attempting to balance "real life" as well.

    Although this is not what I wanted to hear, it makes me think that this program should be fine, and I will just have to jump that hurdle when I get to it. I'll need to do a little more research and wait for some more responses.
  6. 2
    Quote from Pug RN
    That is really sad. The programs are all so expensive, and it seems like this takes so minimal of an effort from the schools and puts it upon the shoulders of someone who is already attending a strenuous program and attempting to balance "real life" as well.

    Although this is not what I wanted to hear, it makes me think that this program should be fine, and I will just have to jump that hurdle when I get to it. I'll need to do a little more research and wait for some more responses.
    I would encourage you to not wait to "jump that hurdle when (you) get to it." There have been posters here in the past who were unable to complete their degrees (or were significantly delayed in graduating) because they had completed all their coursework but couldn't find preceptors for the clinicals. On the other threads discussing this topic (there are plenty; have you reviewed them?), people who have been through this process always urge potential students to get their preceptors more or less lined up before they even start their programs.

    It can be a real challenge to find preceptors, since precepting students slows the practitioner down significantly and they are typically being asked to do this for no compensation.
    CCRNDiva and llg like this.
  7. 0
    I can understand that, I am actually having a difficult time locating a preceptor for my msn in nursing education, which is a significantly shorter practicum.

    I will have to go and look at some of the other posts. I am actually new to the NP boards, so thanks for directing me.
  8. 5
    If I were you I would only consider programs that provide preceptors. Many, many students on here were just like you, and assumed they'd deal with the problem when it came. Then, when time came to find a preceptor, they were screwed. If you don't already have someone in mind who has agreed to precept you, I'd caution against assuming that you'll find someone.

    Also, what concerns me the most about these programs, is where is the quality control? I don't understand how institutions can be fine with having random people teach their students without investigating the facility first, the individuals,etc.
    CCRNDiva, Paco-RN, BCgradnurse, and 2 others like this.
  9. 0
    Very normal unfortunately :/.
  10. 3
    Quote from myelin
    Also, what concerns me the most about these programs, is where is the quality control? I don't understand how institutions can be fine with having random people teach their students without investigating the facility first, the individuals,etc.
    This is my concern, as well. What kind of idea (or control) do the schools have of what caliber clinical education the individual student is getting? In my graduate program (a CNS program, not an NP program, but the NP tracks operated the same way), every clinical instructor was a full- or part-time faculty member at the school -- they had been vetted during the hiring process, they were integrated into the school faculty, and their performance was monitored on an ongoing basis. How does a school know that the local preceptor a student lined up isn't some kind of slacker who takes lots of shortcuts (or is just an all-round poor quality clinician) and is teaching the student all kinds of bad habits and poor practices?

    Clearly, these schools just don't care about that possibility, or what kind of education students are getting in their program. I find that completely unacceptable, and would never attend a program like that.

    A big part of the problem, IMO, is that too many students want the convenience of attending an online program and arranging local clinicals, and they don't seem to care that much about the caliber and rigor of the education they're receiving (and paying for). If people stopped applying for the programs in which you arrange your own preceptors locally, schools would have to make other arrangements.
    CCRNDiva, myelin, and llg like this.
  11. 0
    Just my 2 cents, its not only online schools. I attended school on campus and they had a little bit of both. They preferred for the students to find their own preceptors, but they would arrange clinicals for you if push came to shove. As far as the quality control goes, at my school they had mid term evaluations and end of semester evaluations of all of our preceptors and clinical sites which asked if the student would recommend the preceptor or the site. We were also told to contact our clinical faculty if we were having any isssues. A couple of students did that and were placed elsewhere. The instructors also did site visits and saw us at each clinical site and shadowed us during visits to make sure we were up to par.

    I think they allow the students to pick their preceptors because they assume the students will find suitable preceptors. Ya know? In my general area I can name 5 on campus programs of well know universities, and only One arranges clinicals for you. I'm not saying its right, I'm just saying.

    And it is concerning. It seemed like some of the students in my class had better experiences than others based of their clinicals. That doesn't seem fair. Sorry if there are any typos...Im so sleepy .
  12. 5
    And this is why it is so important for NP students to actually care about the reputation and quality of their program - not just whether or not the program is "flexible" or online. Students need to stop attending programs that do not provide preceptors, period. How can it be acceptable for some students to have good clinicals and other students to have crappy ones?

    It seems crazy to me that schools will just "trust" their students to find adequate training. Isn't that the school's responsibility? The state of NP education is just appalling. I think as more and more schools churn out NPs, things are going to tighten up and jobs will be harder to find. You're best going with a program from a reputable university (not for-profit!), which should set up your clinicals.
    CCRNDiva, BCgradnurse, mrmedical, and 2 others like this.


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