How are people securing preceptors?


I am all ready to apply to university of cincinatti but am so hesitant to pull the trigger on their FNP program. Hearing stories of how horrible it is finding preceptors; I do not want to start a program and not be able to finish because I can't secure preceptors.

I am not afraid to apporach people, go to offices in person, etc. and I live in an area with what I feel is a decent amount of health care centers, but I need to be realistic when spending 35k. I keep reading people state not to go to schools that don't offer preceptors.

What is the reality of the situation like?

Riburn3, BSN, MSN, APRN, NP

3 Articles; 554 Posts

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 16 years experience.

It sounds like you'll be fine. Out of curiosity, how many years have you been working as a nurse? I ask because if you have had some experience it shouldn't be an issue due to connections you have made. Even if not, it's veru doable.

I went to a public university where I had to find my own preceptors and actually loved it. I got to pick preceptors that I loved working with, and it made clinicals really enjoyable, and not seem like I was working or going to school. This was thanks to several years in critical care, building relationships with physicians and NP's from a variety of disciplines. Several of my classmates that went into NP school with limited experience had a harder time, but in the end still were able to get it done.

The stories I read on this message board about finding preceptors seems very worst case scenario. Half of the stories seem to come from people that don't want to do the legwork of getting a preceptor. I had a situation where 3 weeks before I was due to start my women's health rotation, my preceptor left her job and went to work for a nephrology group. From there I called 3 OBGYNs, two told me no only because I am a male and their clients wouldn't like that, and the third OBGYN (who was a male), had no trouble allowing me to work with him.

The situation isn't so bad. During my clinicals, I several times worked in locations that had students from and other good schools where they didn't have to find their preceptors. We got the same clinical experiences, with the only difference that they didn't have to do the leg work. However, for doing the extra leg work myself, I saved myself over $40K in tuition compared to these schools, which is absolutely worth it to me.

Has 29 years experience.

In all honesty I would not suggest a program that does not provide preceptors. For every person that tells you it was a breeze know that there are others who have their graduation delayed for months or indefinitely because they could not conquer the stressful task of finding a preceptor. Know your own situation and secure preceptors before you start school otherwise you are taking a huge risk. What good is saving $$$ on tuition if you do not finish ? In my experience most people will ignore this post in favor of the one that tells them what they want to hear. I felt compelled to post it anyway. All the best to you.

zmansc, ASN, RN

867 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

My experience is like Riburn3's. I think the key is starting to network early so that you have good connections in the provider community. Honestly, if I was to take up all the providers who have offered to precept me, and just do a month with each, I could probably do clinicals for 18+ months, and have experience in ENT, Pulmonology, Cardiology, OB/GYN, CNM, Ortho, Derm, ER, UC, Hospitalist, Pain, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some. The biggest issue was making the first few connections, from there on, it was simply maintaining connections and being a part of the community.

Because I was able to play a part in the selection of my preceptors, I was able to make sure that we were compatible in personality, and vet them on their teaching style and things of that nature. I was also able to pair up two providers who have very different populations, office settings, and approaches to their patient visits. Learning from both is helping me to figure out positives and negatives of each and think about how I might cherry pick the best of both approaches (and a few things I think will work neither does).

Oh, and think outside the box a bit when your looking to make contacts with providers. Cold calling, and stopping at offices is a very low return on investment approach. Anytime, anyway you can meet not only fellow NPs, but also PAs, MDs, or DOs it's good to get them to know you personally. Just a simple two minute conversation starts it, "Hi I'm xxx, I'm going to NP school...." The more of a connection you can make the better you are. Next time you meet them, or if you call/email them, you can reference that meeting. I asked to shadow several, not because I wanted to know how they worked or what it was like (that was nice, but not the main point), I wanted to spend time with them and have them become invested in who I was. From that, I was introduced to several other providers in their groups, or invited to parties, other gatherings, etc. I also volunteered at volunteer health programs so I could work along side some new providers. This again, got me one on one time, and they knew my name when I talked/emailed them. If they know who you are, that increases your chances 10-100x compared to an unknown, and if they have spent time with you and have any interest in helping you it another 10-100x increase in your chances.

Specializes in Geriatrics/family medicine. Has 12 years experience.

would contacting your local NP chapter be helpful?


52 Posts

I contacted a NP practice, even though a provider works there one day per week, to offer my services. I offered to volunteer my services as a nurse or to perform administrative duties for over a year in exchange fore preceptorship and they agreed. I love it so far.

Specializes in Intensive Care Unit. Has 1 years experience.

Keep in mind that every NP out there had to be precepted and most likely had to find preceptors. I look at it as a pay it forward concept. I have only been turned down by one person that I asked and it was mainly due to the fact that she is in a new position with a doctor and is just learning her job. I reached out to MD's and NP's that I had little contact with and they were excited to help me. Also keep in mind how you feel when someone asks you for help. I am a new nurse, I've been working as a critical care RN for one year. This year a senior from my school asked me to precept her and I felt honored, I think most people feel the same. Ask for help and pull the trigger IMO.

allnurses Guide


3 Articles; 5,581 Posts

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 12 years experience.
Keep in mind that every NP out there had to be precepted and most likely had to find preceptors. I look at it as a pay it forward concept.

Most experienced NP preceptors actually did not have to find their own preceptors; many actually discourage this relatively new practice by schools.

I look at it as an important part of my professional role as an NP to precept students. But it isn't as simple as you might think given RVUs/productivity, liability, facility rules and regulations, HIPPA rules and regulations, etc.

Sent from my iPhone.

Specializes in Geriatrics/family medicine. Has 12 years experience.

I will defintely pay it forward when I become an NP