Preparing for Your Student


It is not a surprise that many students feel anxious before a rotation starts. As preceptor, you can help them feel at ease—and be more productive—with a few simple steps:

  • Ask your student for their specialty’s syllabus or course objectives. This will help you plan how to meet those requirements.
  • Make sure the student knows about parking, badges, etc. Typically this is done through your site’s Human Resources or an onboarding coordinator, but be ready to direct the student to whoever can answer their logistical questions. Remember that your facility is likely a new environment for them.
  • Inform your colleagues that a student will be there. Remind them that a student can contribute to the care you provide patients. In addition, because Vanderbilt University School of Nursing students are graduate level, they already have the skills and knowledge to make them successful.
  • Ask your student if there are areas within your practice that may be of special interest to them. If possible, accommodate students’ interests.
  • Consider posting or sharing your student’s bio and photo so that colleagues can welcome them.
  • Ask the student what their learning goals are and their expectations for the rotation. Clearly explain your goals for the student.
  • Find out what clinical experiences the student has had and what challenges they may have encountered. This will help you plan appropriate new learning experiences.
  • Prepare a schedule (that can be adjusted if need be) to share with the student. Knowing the routine and expectations will help them feel more comfortable and be effective clinicians.
  • Relax and be yourself. Your student is there to learn from you because you are a knowledgeable provider. This should be a fulfilling opportunity for both of you.