Discouraged NP student

  1. I am having the hardest time finding a preceptor for my first clinical course, assessment, any help with this, I have talked to countless professionals but they are not willing to take on this role, if given the chance to educate someone else I would

    DFW nurse
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Sha-Sha RN
    Quote from bornleader
    I am having the hardest time finding a preceptor for my first clinical course, assessment, any help with this, I have talked to countless professionals but they are not willing to take on this role, if given the chance to educate someone else I would

    DFW nurse
    Did you check with your state NP association? Most state NP orgs have a preceptor list. Also check out enpnetwork.com which has a list of available preceptors (you have to pay I think $29 to have access to the full list for 3 months). Also ask your personal providers if you have good relationship with them - they may take you on or put in a good word for you with a colleague. I know how hard it is because I've been where you are now. Good luck!
  4. by   BostonFNP
    Quote from bornleader
    I am having the hardest time finding a preceptor for my first clinical course, assessment, any help with this, I have talked to countless professionals but they are not willing to take on this role, if given the chance to educate someone else I would

    DFW nurse
    Did you network any potential preceptors prior to starting your program? Did you contact your program for help?

    As above, state NP association is the best option along with your personal network/contacts.

    I would not recommend the pay-for-preceptor websites. Most are scams.


    Sent from my iPhone.
  5. by   aprnKate
    I suggest you google up small clinics in DFW area and its surrounding areas that is not affiliated with a Health System. I had better luck finding preceptors that way. I would individually call up each clinic. Most don’t have a website that would specify what type of health care providers they have in the clinic but I would ask whoever answered the phone if they had Nurse Practitioners/MD that would be willing to precept NP students. Most personnel that answer the phone in the clinic don’t usually know what “precepting” means so you will have to take the time to explain it to them in simple words. I have had no problems finding preceptors to agree to precept me as long as I find them 6-8 months in advance and I was willing to travel to get the experience (that would mean travelling 40 minutes each way or just staying in a motel for two months or renting an apartment for a semester).

    Although finding preceptors can be a challenging task, there is a bright side to this situation. I have done clinicals in many different settings. Finding my own preceptor benefitted me in many ways. I was able to travel to different parts of Texas and explore different clinical/cultural populations compared with some FNP students that I know that went to a local university and their preceptors were assigned to them. I had one clinical practicum with a large health system and I felt that what I could do as a FNP student was very limited, I felt no connection with the patients, I felt rushed and the visits were disconnected and felt like I did not get the full experience of a patient visit once they walk into the door and discharged from the clinic …in others…it was “choppy” I would only get bits and pieces here and there. The skills that I was allowed to do were limited as well (probably the most invasive was a speculum exam and pap smears)…I still learned a lot though and I had a good preceptor. However, I felt that it was not a good fit for me. Needless to say, from then on, I decided not to do clinicals with a large health system.



    I found that small clinics especially volunteer clinics and clinics in rural health areas have given me the most autonomy and have given me a “fuller” experience of what it is really like to be a FNP in the “real world.” The skills that I have acquired during my clinical hours with small /rural health/volunteer clinics clinics are absolutely PRICELESS! If there was a skill to do, my preceptors were not at all hesitant in saying “yes” and they were more than happy to teach me on how to do the skill and answer any questions I may have.

    If you are a NP student in your first year of school Texas Nurse Practitioner offers one year free student membership. I highly suggest you join because you can access a preceptor list with contact information. After the first year its $60/year for student membership. Also, go to the Texas Nurse Practitioner conferences so that you can network and chit chat with other nurse practitioners. You would find that most are open to precepting sometimes it just takes for you to introduce yourself and before you know it they are giving you their business card and offering to precept you. In fact, there will be a Texas Nurse Practitioner’s conference in Dallas next year around Sept 24, 2015.

    Try small towns around DFW/Tyler area like Duncanville, Lancaster, Athens, Corsicana, DeSoto, Mansfield, Burleson, Greenville…etc.

    south of San Antonio like Pearsall, Floresville, Dilley, Cotulla, Beeville, and other towns like Luling, Gonzales, New Braunfels/San Marcos, Tomball, Uvalde, Brady, ….among others. Trust me…there are Nurse Practitioners/MDs that may be willing to precept you just need to be willing to find them pick up the phone and call.
    Hope this helps, I am just telling you my experience in finding preceptors in a major city in TX.


    Good luck to you!
  6. by   zmansc
    As was mentioned above, finding a preceptor is something that often (usually) effort over time. The best option is to build a network of providers who know you and are willing to help you over time, as these folks will often be able to guide you towards not only a preceptor, but a good preceptor. However, since you are behind the curve here, the suggestions above would be a good way to start. Also keep in mind you are now basically cold calling folks, this type of marketing (which is what you are doing) has very high negative response rates. The more personal you can make it the better your chances are. I.e. email gets rejected with the click of a button, doesn't even take a second to do... Think of how fast you delete spam messages, that is basically what you are going to be to the recipients. Phone calls are not much more, they don't know you from any other telemarketer, nope, not taking the call, leave a message for the round file. In person is comparable to door to door salesman, a little bit more difficult to get rid of, but still with a receptionist, probably not very difficult. Expect high rejection rates, you reject marketers all the time, now you are on the other side of the situation.
    A couple suggestions. If their is any kind of conference, or other gathering of providers, even if it's not NPs, this is a good place to start. You can go there, talk to people and see if they know of anyone you can contact about this. Get the contact info and the name of who referred you, so when you do try to make contact it's: "so-and-so suggested I call you about my need for a ....". That will get a much better response than "Can you help me...". A second option might be to contact your hospital or other facility you work at, they likely have someone who coordinates educational opportunities. I.e. someone who works with the schools to coordinate the placement of students in clinical settings. Talk to that person, and see if they have contacts in other facilities. For example, the person who does this for my local hospital has to coordinate placement with some doctors offices as well (the MD students spend time in ER, Hospitalist, and two local clinics not owned by the hospital), so they might give you the right person to talk to at a couple clinics who could help you with placement.
    Finally, whenever talking to someone and being declined, always ask if they know of someone or place that might be able to help you and thank them for their time.

    Good Luck.
  7. by   phnxrising
    I had problems finding preceptors as well. I even had the experience of finding a preceptor who actually signed the agreement with my school and then ended up standing me up several times before I figured she wasn't going to do it. The one day she actually precepted me, she made a comment that another school gave her a check for precepting one of their students. When I mentioned to her that I didn't think my school participated in that practice, she started the shenanigans. I was in a jam so I contacted the retail clinics (CVS, Walgreens, Rediclinic) I was able to obtain a new preceptor and site quickly. I wouldn't recommend going to a retail clinic for more than one semester. But, this helped me when I found myself without a preceptor. And, it was an interesting rotation. I hope this helps.
  8. by   BostonFNP
    If a preceptor is looking for a paycheck they likely aren't the right preceptor for you.


    Sent from my iPhone.
  9. by   phnxrising
    Absolutely. She should have she was looking for money when she verbally agreed to precept me two years earlier. Not professional at all.
  10. by   MedSurgRN14
    Just an update on the ENPNetwork. I registered on the site for free but you can't get the preceptor's info, just their location and a brief intro. It's now $90 for full access for 90 days, which I find to be a bit pricey. A day later they emailed me a 25% off discount code which brings it down to $67, which is still too much. If you are in a bind, it might be worth the cost, or perhaps look into a preceptor matching agency.

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