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Should I pay for clinical hours for an NP preceptor, and if so, how much is too much to pay?

Specializes in Psych.

I'm in an online Psych NP program right now, and last Summer (Summer 2019) I had to drop my courses because I couldn't find preceptors for my courses. So I was delayed for an entire year to retake these courses now. I hate to say it like this, but in a sense I lucked out with Coronavirus because now these two Summer courses don't require a clinical component and are done virtually.

However, I am going to need clinical hours in the fall. And I swore to myself that with everything I went through, and as far as I've gotten in this program, I am absolutely NOT going to let not having all the preceptor stuff keep me from completing this program!

I've decided to go through with a recruiting agency because of how stringent my program's requirements are in terms of a preceptor. The person has to be board certified, and I have to get a certain number of hours in adults, in geri, in pediatrics, in addiction, etc. etc. etc. So that narrows my options as I have to seek preceptors or facilities that take patients across the lifespan, and aren't a solo practice, and will offer in-site hours on a regular basis (because if a preceptor only works for 20 hours a week with a student, or is only available 2 days a week, how am I supposed to get my hours?!). It's quite frustrating!

These recruiters have some really high fees for some of these places! For one place is $2000 for a semester, for another is $3300 a semester. I mean, I can afford it, but it is a lot of money. And I'm worried the site may have issues where they can't get me the hours I need. Or I hit a roadblock from my program in terms of approving everything. Then again, this is the time of Coronavirus, and I don't want to be the person who couldn't get a clinical preceptor again.

Should I just hold my nose and make a payment? Maybe this will be worth the lack of stress for the fall semester.

barcode120x, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Telemetry.

I would never pay for a preceptor. Well, I could understand paying maybe a couple hundred for a semester, but to charge over a grand is ridiculous. Talk about taking advantage of students, especially in the time of this pandemic. I would imagine many of these people spiked up their prices because they know many preceptors are currently not taking any students or as many due to liability.

You have several months before you start the fall. If you haven't already, contact your classmates if they're in your area and see if their preceptor can buddy up. Contact your PCP or your friends/family PCP about taking in student. I did that. Just before I started NP school I had my physical exam for school and asked my MD if she could precept me and she agreed. Also, contact your professors, adjunct faculty, and clinical advisors. They are a good resource for preceptors as well assuming they're in a location you can get too. My current adjunct professor is my clinical instructor as well and my clinical advisor (the one that checks up on you and your clinical site once in a blue moon) had mentioned to me that I could precept with her if I needed to.

As much as it is like job hunting, I would beef up the resume, dress up nice, and start going clinic to clinic asking around. There are many clinics in the area, you just have to go out of your and go door knocking. Trust me, I was nervous when I first found out we had to find our own preceptors but I thought ahead and got started early.

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

On 6/11/2020 at 8:41 PM, A Hit With The Ladies said:

I've decided to go through with a recruiting agency because of how stringent my program's requirements are in terms of a preceptor. The person has to be board certified, and I have to get a certain number of hours in adults, in geri, in pediatrics, in addiction, etc. etc. etc. So that narrows my options as I have to seek preceptors or facilities that take patients across the lifespan, and aren't a solo practice, and will offer in-site hours on a regular basis (because if a preceptor only works for 20 hours a week with a student, or is only available 2 days a week, how am I supposed to get my hours?!). It's quite frustrating!

I'm failing to see some of your complaints - board certification, experience, and seeing populations to support the life-span requriements of the PMHNP certification all seems completely reasonable.

Yes, you will need clinical hours which cover full lifespan of care - do you have to get them all in one term? It's pretty normal to have a few different sites/preceptors to gain all hours and to see spectrum of population as very, very few settings are truly life-span in nature as Peds, adult, and geriatric have historically been split apart. Nor am I seeing anything wrong with having a preceptor who works part-time (my child/adolescent placement was with a solo practitioner who works part time....) as it is better to gain some hours rather than no hours even if you need to split a placement over multiple terms or weight more strongly to one population than another in overall hours.

Also are you completely limited to clinicals with PMHNPs or can you complete a few hours with MD or LPC? I know the majority of hours must be with PMHNP but many programs allow for a few hours to be completed with another licensed practitioner. (E.g. therapy with a psychologist, or specialty-psych care with a psychiatrist) which would open up some more doors for hours.

I understand that it is frustrating to find placements - particularly now when COVID is limiting site options - however I would hope that your program would work with you around this. The idea of paying for a recruiter and paying for a preceptor when you are already paying the school doesn't make sense to me - the school should be HELPING you find placements. This doesn't mean you shouldn't also try to sell yourself, network, and find potential placements on your own - but if the school isn't helping - what exactly are you paying them for?

Edited by verene

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych.

8 hours ago, verene said:

but if the school isn't helping - what exactly are you paying them for?

It's an online program. They said that in their student handbook the student is responsible for finding their own clinical sites. I'll do whatever it takes to get the hours that I need.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology.

I figured it was an online program and you are half way across the country from it. Have there been any previous students from the institution in clinical sites? Perhaps they can help you get in. I do wonder though if the school's reputation is not the best...what happens when you ask at a clinic? Also, if you are paying the preceptor, would you get an honest evaluation of your abilities? I guess you are lucky that Covid happened so that your clinical placement preceptor woes are limited to one semester but what are the limitations on your clinical experience?

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

I found my clinical sites with good old fashioned leg work. I made a student resume and went to offices of the practices I knew had good reputations and asked to speak to the office manager. Got my sites set up easily that way. Put yourself forward and do it. You'll be surprised at what you can find.

If your school uses Typhon to log clinical encounters, you can go into Typhon and pull up all of the practices that are already confirmed by your school. That's a good starting point because you have the name, address & telephone numbers of current practices/preceptors in your state.

You can also join your state's NP association. Most have a process in place for current NPs to offer their services as preceptors to students. Good way to network 🙂

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych.

We use eLogs instead of Typhon. Thank you so much for your help! Through connections (dad has a friend whose brother in law is in high places in the Houston medical community), I was able to secure a psychiatrist preceptor! But I'll still go through NPHub to bank in additional hours for the future :)

I tried the Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP) preceptor database but most of the people on there weren't precepting :( The data must have been out of date!

PMHP61, BSN

Specializes in CARN.

On 6/14/2020 at 2:04 AM, A Hit With The Ladies said:

It's an online program. They said that in their student handbook the student is responsible for finding their own clinical sites. I'll do whatever it takes to get the hours that I need.

Contact local non- profits in behavioral health they usually have a need and willing to provide training. If not I would call PMNP in phone book and ask if they are willing to serve as a preceptor.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine.

**Posted on another thread but applies here too**

FWIW, changes made effective in 2019 for NP program accreditation:

"While the following statement is not new to the 2018 Standards, the elaboration to Key Element III-H specifically states, “Clinical practice experiences are provided for students in all programs, including those with distance education offerings.” Please note, this key element does not prohibit programs from allowing students to play an active role in identifying clinical practice experiences, but if a student is unable to find an appropriate clinical practice experience, the program is ultimately responsible for providing this."

https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/CCNE/PDF/Summary-Major-Revisions-to-2018-Standards.pdf

So I did my MPH through liberty University and they were very unhelpful when it came to getting clinical sites to log in my clinical hours that were required for the program. I was able to secure a clinical site and had to pay for my clinicals at the site. Fortunately, it wasn't too expensive. But then it makes you think, what am I paying for if I still had to come out of my pocket to get a clinical site. I paid $150 a month for this site and made it that I was able to get all my clinical hours in two months. At first it was going to drag on for three months. Which would have meant more money to spend, so I scheduled myself so that I could get all the hours in two months. It was tough but worth it.

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych.

On 6/17/2020 at 8:24 AM, BostonFNP said:

**Posted on another thread but applies here too**

FWIW, changes made effective in 2019 for NP program accreditation:

"While the following statement is not new to the 2018 Standards, the elaboration to Key Element III-H specifically states, “Clinical practice experiences are provided for students in all programs, including those with distance education offerings.” Please note, this key element does not prohibit programs from allowing students to play an active role in identifying clinical practice experiences, but if a student is unable to find an appropriate clinical practice experience, the program is ultimately responsible for providing this."

https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/CCNE/PDF/Summary-Major-Revisions-to-2018-Standards.pdf

The Sawyer Initiative is empty rhetoric. You can file a complaint with the AACN (I did that last year) and I promise you nothing will come of it. They won't actually threaten to revoke accreditation from your program if they won't find you a preceptor.

im Currently searching for an NP program that has clinicals embedded in the program. Meaning that the school has the responsibility of finding clinical sites and a preceptor for me. And honestly I have found very few schools who will take that responsibility. They always email me back that it is the responsibility of the student to find clinical sites. 🙄 I couldn’t believe that even seton hall. With how expensive their program is, doesn’t find clinicals for their students. It’s so annoying and I am not trying to go through that stress.

Numenor, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine.

6 hours ago, BellaNoor said:

im Currently searching for an NP program that has clinicals embedded in the program. Meaning that the school has the responsibility of finding clinical sites and a preceptor for me. And honestly I have found very few schools who will take that responsibility. They always email me back that it is the responsibility of the student to find clinical sites. 🙄 I couldn’t believe that even seton hall. With how expensive their program is, doesn’t find clinicals for their students. It’s so annoying and I am not trying to go through that stress.

Even the big name schools do this, its sad. I would like to see the data on what % of programs actually provide preceptors. It has to be below 25%.

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych.

Here in Texas, the UT Health System schools will set you up with preceptors. Granted, they may not be close to where you live but you avoid the stress and paperwork! Many of my closest friends from my BSN program have gone to these schools. I wish I had done the same. Brick and mortar over online for sure.

Tegridy

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-1.

Students are dumb enough to pay to go to programs that do not find preceptors so why would they provide?

IMO they aren't giving you the full educational experience but hey if people are willing to buy a cat turd then buddy that things for sale.

I am an FNP student that took a job with an organization that promised to place employees in a clinical spot with a preceptor. I was placed for 2 clinical rotations. The organization which basically has one person to contact for educational placements, but boasts employing over 7600 employees, emailed me that there would be a need to now interview for a preceptor to match this session. I did an in depth 1 hour plus phone interview and did not hear back. I contacted the "clinical placement educator"as even though this is a parent site, it is not the site I work at.

The " clinical placement educator", called me back 1 week now prior to my next clinical start date to inform me that she is sorry but they cant help my needs with a preceptor. She gave me a run around with no explanation other than it is a competitive process and I did not make the cut for a preceptor. She also referred to all these schools r us and the need for placement..... All of the local students were place from UW and private colleges. I chose the school I did because it allows me to work full time as an RN and provide for my family. Just because my primary classes were online , by no means means it is easy. I work 36 hours a week and attend classes and clinical. My classes are extremely in depth and it takes much organization on my part to get through each one!

I am not in totally agreement that my school, which charges fees should not be placing me, but I was told by this organization that I would be placed, so unprofessional! Sorry to be a Debby Downer, but I just want to vent my frustrations about these healthcare organizations that are non profit, take government funds, but only help certain groups.

I have 3 clinical rotations left to finish, after all this work, I have contacted multiple other organizations, private offices, and clinics with out success. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can finish these last 3 rotations?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or leads! I am in the State of Wisconsin.

I completely understand your situation because I am currently in that position. I located a preceptor for individual psychotherapy and he was sure to mention the $1,000 honorarium, is what they are calling the fee they charge, which I was kind of expecting. It's a sad day when this is happening but the need is so great and they know it. Gone are the days when one would be eager to pay it forward just because...since they also needed and obviously received that opportunity.

I just hope to get through and I will remember to pay back by helping others once I get experience by allowing future students the opportunity to fulfill their goals .All of us need to remember thus when we get there.

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

On ‎6‎/‎20‎/‎2020 at 6:24 AM, Tegridy said:

Students are dumb enough to pay to go to programs that do not find preceptors so why would they provide?

IMO they aren't giving you the full educational experience but hey if people are willing to buy a cat turd then buddy that things for sale.

Not everyone has the luxury of living close enough to a school that provides preceptors. Or if they do, has the specialty you want. I live near a Big Ten university which places NP students in clinicals, but they only offer FNP & Gero. I want ACNP and they don't offer it. I had no choice but to go to a school that requires me to find preceptors. There are no programs nearby that place students and offer ACNP. Even the "other" Big Ten school in our state doesn't place students, and they have their own university-owned healthcare system!

For what it's worth, the NP students I know who attended the local program were placed anywhere in the state. Some had to drive 4 to 8 hours away for clinicals, which meant paying for a hotel or renting a condo for their rotation. Or they had to go to community health or correctional facilities in not-so-great areas, cars broken into, purses stolen, etc. The grass isn't necessarily greener.

The school I'm going to encourages us to look up former preceptors in the Typhon system to help us find sites. They will place us if we've exhausted all our options, but they can (and usually do) place us any where in the country. Right now, none of the hospitals in my area are taking students, so come fall, I may have to get placed by the school in another state. COVID has really thrown a monkey-wrench into the mix.

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