Preceptor Expectations

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Identifying Your (Preceptor) Expectations

As you complete the following worksheet, consider your expectations of the student regarding each of the identified components. As an additional time saving measure, this worksheet may also be handed to the student, with an opportunity to discuss any questions. Be sure to save the worksheet to your notebook for future reference.

(text version)

Encouraging Patient Acceptance

Many preceptors who are thinking about having students become a part of their practice are concerned about how their patients will respond to the presence of the student. The majority of patients enjoy and benefit from the presence of students. They like the increased "face time" with a provider.

There are a number of steps you can take to assure this positive reaction and prevent potential problems with your patients.

  • Hang a notice in the waiting room indicating that your practice is a teaching site. The attached sign that was enclosed in your original set of materials may be useful for this purpose.
  • Your office manager can submit an article for the local newspaper. This is useful for patients and can be fun for the student.
  • The nurse or designated staff should check with patients ahead of time to make sure they are willing to be seen by a medical student. It is crucial that you instruct the staff about how to ask this question since the manner in which it is asked can have an affect on the patient's attitude towards seeing a student.

With a proper introduction, most patients are happy to be seen by a medical student.

The following video clips illustrate an ineffective approach and an effective approach to the preliminary interaction with a patient around the issue of have a student in the office. As you are watching the clip, note the specific language that is used by the staff person.

Teaching Hints

  1. If possible, avoid asking patients for permission to be seen by a student in front of the student. This is awkward for both the student and the patient and could inhibit the patient from expressing his or her true feelings about being seen by a student.
  2. Let the student know in the initial orientation that some patients prefer not to be seen by a student and that the student should not take this personally.
  3. Be sure to thank patients for their involvement in teaching the student.

Encouraging Patient Acceptance (cont.)

Please indicate the language you would like your staff to use when asking the patient for permission to be seen by the student. (Be sure to communicate with your staff regarding your answers to this item and the following item.)

  • You can also review the schedule at the start of the day with the student and indicate which patients would be particularly good for the student to see and which patients prefer not to be seen by students.
  • You also can identify patients with interesting physical findings and let the patient know how useful this is for students to see and hear. Some patients will point out such a finding with future students and begin to instruct them on how to examine it.

How patients react to your teaching depends a lot on how you present it to them. Patients are more likely to appreciate your precepting activities if they perceive them as an indication that you are an accomplished clinician or that you are recognized by academic institutions for the knowledge you have to share with students.

Patients are more likely to be open to a student if they know, in advance, that they will be seen by the student and if they see their role as helping teach the student.

Patients are also more likely to be receptive if they have the extra time to be seen by a student; patients have more "face time" with a clinician when seen by both the student and you, but they also have to wait longer while the student discusses the case with you.

What steps will you take to encourage patient acceptance in your practice?

Module 1: Taking a Student into your Office