The preceptor is an integral part of the teaching program, serving as a role model for the student. Through guidance and teaching, they help students improve skills in history-taking, physical examination, effective communication, physical diagnosis, accurate and succinct documentation, reporting, problem assessment, and plan development, including coordination of care. Additionally, by providing feedback, preceptors are a vital resource as students develop and progress.

Preceptor Responsibilities

Preceptor responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Orient, assess each student at the onset of the rotation with the practice/site policies and procedures, including safety and emergency policies and procedures.
  • Review the expectations and objectives for the rotation.
  • Provide ongoing and timely feedback to the student regarding clinical performance, clinical knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors, and critical thinking skills.
  • Supervise, demonstrate, teach, and observe clinical activities to aid in the development of clinical skills and professionalism and to ensure high-quality patient care.
  • Delegate increasing levels of responsibility based on a student’s experience and expertise.
  • Participate in the evaluation of clinical skills and medical knowledge base through the following mechanisms:
    • Direct supervision, observation, and teaching in the clinical setting
    • Immediate evaluation of presentations (including both oral and written)
    • Assignment of outside readings and research to promote further learning
  • Demonstrate cultural humility in all interactions with patients, families, health care teams, and systems.
  • Dialogue with faculty during site visits to evaluate student progress and assist the learning process.
  • Review and add supplementary documentation to student notes to evaluate the student’s clinical reasoning and documentation skills.
  • Demonstrate an ethical approach to the care of patients by serving as a role model for the student.
  • Complete and return the student evaluation forms to assess performance and improvement throughout the supervised clinical experience.
  • Promptly notify the PA program of any circumstances that might interfere with student safety, wellness, accomplishments of the above goals, or diminution of the overall experience.

Preceptor Development Resources

PAEA’s Committee on Clinical Education created a set of one-pagers for preceptors to help streamline and enhance this essential experience:

  • Incorporating Students into Patient Care/Workflow
  • The One-Minute Preceptor
  • Ask-Tell-Ask Feedback Model
  • SNAPPS: A Six-Step Learner-Centered Approach to Clinical Education
  • Introducing/Orienting a PA Student to Your Practice
  • Tailoring Clinical Teaching to an Individual Student

The one-pagers are available on the PAEA website here. They combine some of the committee’s own resources with the best precepting practices outlined in the literature.

Additional resources for preceptors can be found in the Preceptor Channel within the PAEA Digital Learning Hub. Ask your director of clinical education to download and share these resources if you do not have access.

Benefits of Becoming a Clinical Preceptor

  • Access to the Drury University online library AccessMedicine.
  • CME Credit
  • Physicians may claim AMA PRA category 2 credit at a rate of 1 credit per hour.
  • Physician Assistants may claim category 1 CME credit with a maximum of 20 credits per calendar year at a rate of 2 credits per 40-hour week.
    • Physician assistants may claim category 2 CME credit at a rate of one (1) credit per hour for any hours not claimed as category 1 credit.