Tips for Preceptors

1. Observe students first to gather their strengths and weaknesses, and tailor teaching and assignments to maximize learning.

2. Ask students what their goals are for a particular clinical experience and develop a set of objectives to meet those. New preceptors may want to run these by the student’s adviser.

3. Remember that you were once a student as well.

4. Ask patients first if they have some extra time to let a student do their exam.

5. Assign students patients who match what they are learning or need to work on.

6. Try to give students a variety of patient experiences—acute vs. chronic, young vs. old, difficult diagnosis vs. simple.

7. Have a continuous line of communication. Give students feedback and let them suggest ways to improve their teaching experience.

8. Have students look up something they don’t know and teach you at the next visit.

9. Remember that you don’t have to teach everything at once. A good strategy is to focus on one skill set one week and advance to something else the next.

How can I become a preceptor? Contact the Clinical Placement Department at (615) 343-6067 or email