Saturday, April 19, 2014

Nurse Practitioner Preceptors - Plan Ahead

I would not mind being a preceptor for an NP student sometime in the future, and when I feel comfortable with my own skills and time management, but that will be a year or two. These days I regularly see postings of students looking for nurse practitioner preceptors. I have even received emails via my LinkedIn profile asking me to be a preceptor. I was lucky in that my school matched us with preceptors, but here is the problem. Many schools and online degree programs do match you with a preceptor, and after you start do not give a damn that you cannot find a preceptor. They have your money and you are on your own to find preceptors. 

As a NP students you will need preceptors, and a minimum number of clinical hours to get board certified. National standards also require your preceptors to be certified, practicing and pass a screening process; this avoids fraud on the part of the school and by the student.

The thing is there are not enough preceptors for all the students out there.  Nurse practitioner I have talked to do not precept for many reasons and it has to do with the business of healthcare. Most companies give NPs a set block of time to see a set number of patients. In primary care that is usually 15-20 minutes to see the patient, diagnose, treat and chart, and the urgent care visits are as fast as possible. Your preceptor then needs to double check everything the student does, because it is their license in jeopardy every time the student sees one of their patients. I'm sure but probably some large and small companies also do not want the liability of a student.  

If you Google and look around at the comments about finding preceptors, I think the best thing you can do is to be proactive and line up your preceptors before starting a program, or go into one that matches you with preceptors. Pursue your dreams but plan ahead.


Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home said...

I do precept nursing students, every semester. I give priority to PNP students for several reasons. First of all, I am adjunct faculty at one of the nursing schools that has a PNP program, and they get first priority. Also, peds is my specialty, peds clinical sites are limited, and those PNP students have peds experience which makes my job as preceptor easier. I get about 15 requests per semester for student placements, most of which are for FNP students. Some of them are quite aggressive, not taking "no, I'm already committed" for an answer. I've had them contact my manager, my medical director, and even the CMO of the very large company for which I am employed. I understand their desperation, but they need to think about my position which is that of a full time PNP who sees 25+ patients/day. Students don't understand how much time precepting actually takes. They think they are just going in to examine a patient, discuss the plan with the preceptor, and write a note. But I need to also examine the patient, review the management plan, and review the notes at the end of the day.Ultimately, I am responsible for that patient's care and outcome. I don't know what the answer to clinical placement is, but instead of churning out students, maybe these programs should build relationships with NPs in the community so that they will have established clinical sites in which to place their students.

I can see why some NPs don't take students. It really is a lot of extra work that we don't get paid for. I happen to enjoy precepting and find it rewarding. But it can really add stress to an already busy day, especially if you have a student who is not experienced in your area or if they are just there to get clinical hours. And believe me, I've had those students as well.

NPO said...

Thank you and good points. There are far more FNPs than all other NPs, so finding someone in your specialty is important. If you are Adult, Acute or a Geriatric NP, then I want to work with those students. If you have a sub specialty like psych, occupational health or diabetes, then students should precept with those NPs.

StudentFNP said...

Well said and good advice. One of the most stressful things about being in NP school was finding preceptors who were available and willing to take on NP students. When I become a nurse practitioner and have some years of experience, I will be most welcoming to students!

P.S. Found your blog when I was searching for NP blogs and will enjoy reading your past entries!