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Help! Finding Preceptors

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ray216 ray216 (New) New

I am one semester into my DNP program and I need to line up preceptor(s) starting in the fall. I have asked my friends and coworkers, joined the Michigan council of NPs and reached out to members, called area clinics, and emailed others. So far I either get no response or call backs, or am told that my person if interest already has students.

I am told the process takes up to months to process the papers for the agreement between the facility and the school which is intimidating but not an issue yet, as I have found no one willing or able to take on a NP student.

If I were made of money I would make appointments at the clinics just to get practitioners in the room to talk to. I have no primary care connections. When I call clinics after researching their patient populations, providers, and anything else I find, I am routed to an office manager or an admin and hear nothing back.

I don't really know how to approach this without a contact. I feel like I don't know who to ask for. I think finding a willing provider then navigating the facility and legal agreement is the way to go but I don't know how to reach the providers, and through their facilities seems not to be the way. Also, I respect that the people I am looking for are busy, and I don't want to interrupt their work day or take time from their patients.

Aside from lying to someone about my intentions, or standing outside the clinic with a sign and a boombox, I don't know how to get through the office staff to talk to a potential preceptor.

Is anyone else out there having any luck finding preceptors without knowing any? I don't care for this position where I need to beg strangers to help me, so here I am begging strangers for help lol.

I'm located in the Ypsilanti / Ann Arbor, Mi area.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

Have you contacted your program for assistance? Do they have an alumni list? Sometimes talking to alums can either get you a placement or at least point you in the right direction. I know most providers here are booked out 3-4+ semesters for students.

I will say a couple of things from my person opinion in dealing with student solicitation from the other side:

1. Don't make office appointments to talk about something like this. It's not professional and may border on insurance fraud.

2. Don't show up at offices and expect to talk to providers, rather, come professionally dressed and speak with the practice manager if possible, leave a detailed CV/resume and a letter that is individualized to the practice introducing yourself and why you think you'd be a good fit for the practice. Make a case for yourself as a student.

3. Use your professional work contacts, don't be shy.

4. Book way ahead. You should be at least 3 semesters ahead.

Thank you!

I know about the clinics in my area as far as their group or system affiliations, hours of operation, services they offer, and their providers according to their websites. I have tailored my emails and sent resumes to the providers suggested to me by friends and coworkers, and those on the MI council members list. My school redirected me (I found it earlier in February) to a list of past affiliations that would provide a faster agreement if I were to find preceptors at those locations, but none of these are feasibly close to me.

How would one sell themselves as a student? I've been struggling with this idea, what's in it for them?

It has been my impression that a lot of patients view students as a waste of their time before getting to talk to the 'real' provider; unpopular. My presence would likely slow down operations especially early on; costly. I don't have clinic or primary care experience to offer, the majority of my nursing has been intra-operative.

I have asked pretty much everyone I know if they know someone, or would recommend their primary care providers. Many do, but I am still a stranger attempting to contact them. The responses have been none, or we already have students (most common), one clinic that provides free services in my area stated that they 'protect' their clinicians from 'this sort of thing' but encouraged me to volunteer (which I had for them in the past but now with working full time and working on my DNP I can't make that commitment), another was very friendly and gave me an email address for one of their coordinators (no response).

If I could do my practicum hours with plastics, bariatrics, GYN, or Ophthalmology surgeons or Anesthesiologists, I would be golden.

I have been looking for potential preceptors since I became aware that I would need to find my own placements (January). I would love to book ahead! I am in my first semester (Jan-May), trying to find placement for my third semester (Aug-Dec) and on.