There are basic standards of caring and responsibility that all physicians should possess. What better way to introduce these basics than by placing students with community physicians who demonstrate these standards in the daily practice of medicine? We welcome physicians from all specialties and locations to complete our preceptorship forms.
A review of selected literature has revealed that the following are characteristics of effective clinical teachers.
It is possible to do the important work of precepting students and still get home in time for dinner.
Preceptor responsibilities for all three preceptorships
Using the postcard given to student, sign off on the required 20 histories. Communicate freely with the preceptorship staff.
The preceptorship staff welcomes contact concerning student progress and is available to offer general assistance or answer any questions you might have:
Maintain a collegial relationship with the medical student
The students are anticipating an enjoyable clinical educational experience in your practice. This will be enhanced when a collegial relationship can be established between you and your student. The students are instructed to contact their preceptors before the scheduled rotation time to introduce themselves and arrange a meeting time and place for the first day.
Provide opportunities for supervised clinical experience
The preceptorship is a clinical rotation and should include as much student-patient interaction as possible. Before beginning the preceptorship, UF students have been taught how to obtain a focused history and how to perform portions of the physical exam. Each student has practiced these skills and received feedback on performance.
However, as the students are in their first year, you will need to monitor each student’s clinical skills and arrange patient care responsibilities at appropriate levels. We suggest you observe the student with several patients to assure yourself that the student has acceptable skills before allowing them to see patients without your direct observation. A minimal expectation is that the preceptor allows students to conduct some patient interviews on their own. Because the student is not a licensed physician, you have the responsibility for countersigning every medical record entry and prescription written by the student. In addition, you should see the patient during some part of the medical visit. Many preceptors elect not to allow students at this level to make entries into the patient’s permanent record, while others encourage it.
Inform patients they are being seen by a supervised University of Florida medical student
Please take a minute to introduce the student to your patients and to establish an informed consent system that best meets the needs of the patient population, yourself and the student. Patients are usually receptive when medical students contribute to their care.
Provide an orientation to the community and life outside the clinic
The preceptorship is intended to provide students with further training in the context of a community. In order to understand how a physician is responsible to a community, the student needs to make an effort to understand local health needs, the existing delivery system, the available resources and your relationship with the community.
When convenient, please invite the student to share experiences you would consider integral to the life of a physician in the community. These activities can include night calls, evening rounds, meetings at local clubs, school boards, CME activities, etc.
Observe the student’s performance
There is no substitute for direct observation of students. You are able to provide much more meaningful feedback if it is coupled with knowledge gained from observation. It is difficult to take time to do this and you may not be able to do it often, but it is a critical element in the learning process. We suggest you devise a mechanism in your schedule that allows you to directly observe the student performing a task at least once daily. At a minimum, direct observation should occur at least once during the final week of the preceptorship.
Provide the student with constructive feedback: the essential ingredient for learning
People learn when they are told specific behaviors they have done that are “good” and behaviors that “need improvement.” Feedback should be given as descriptions of specific behaviors with both positive and negative statements. Feedback needs to be given in a private setting, not in front of patients or staff. Ideally, feedback should be given within minutes of the observed behavior (e.g. “That was a very good history you just obtained,” or “Be sure to always ask about non-prescription medications, too.”) Summative feedback should be given on a weekly basis (e.g. “Your history taking really improved this week. The main areas for improvement now are _______”).
Perform a careful evaluation of clinical performance
Your official evaluation of the student, using the Evaluation of the Student Performance Form shown in the appendices, is very important. It will serve as a major factor in our determination of the student’s grade for the entire preceptorship. Your specific comments regarding the student’s strengths and areas needing improvement, written on the evaluation form, are invaluable. We will send you a copy of the student’s evaluation of you as a faculty person.
Complete an evaluation of the course from your perspective as a preceptor
We value feedback from preceptors and use it to make improvements in the course.
First preceptorship requirement
– December (MS1)
Allow your student to perform AT LEAST 20 histories on their own
This is a course requirement that every student must meet. Students who do not perform at least 20 independent histories will be required to remediate this after the preceptorship is over.
PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR STUDENT IN THIS POSITION – THANK YOU!
If you anticipate that it will be difficult for your student to perform 20 independent histories, please notify Dr. Konopack right away.
Second and third preceptorship requirement
– May/June & November (MS1, MS2) respectively
Allow your student to perform histories on their own
This is a course requirement that every student must meet. If you anticipate that it will be difficult for your student to perform independent histories, please notify Dr. Konopack right away.
Allow your student to perform physical exams on their own or supervised
Students have practiced exam skills with standardized patients, and one of the course objectives is for students to further develop these skills during their preceptorship.
Have students present patients to you and give feedback on the presentations
This is the final preceptorship before clinical rotations and presentations are an essential skill to begin to develop.
Help students develop a differential diagnosis for the cases you see
This is the final preceptorship before clinical rotations and developing a differential diagnosis is an essential skill to begin to develop.