The number of e-mails I have received over the past few weeks from nurse practitioner students looking for clinical preceptors has been quite alarming.  It seems there is a definite shortage of preceptors for nurse practitioner students out there.  Hosting an NP student for a few weeks seems like a lot of work, but I’m here to tell you it can also be quite rewarding.

Acting as a preceptor to a nurse practitioner student involves hosting them in your clinic, hospital, or other medical practice location helping them learn as they work alongside you.  Physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners alike may precept NP students showing them the ins and outs of the field of medicine in which they hope to practice.

Many providers are hesitant to precept nurse practitioner students.  They worry they won’t have the knowledge they need to answer student’s questions or are concerned a student will take too much time away from their regular work day.  It’s true, precepting a nurse practitioner student takes a bit of time, but there’s not set method by which you must train an aspiring NP.  As a preceptor, you can simply go about your usual routine incorporating answering questions and giving out a few words of wisdom throughout the day.  Most learning during clinical hours is based on observation so the experience shouldn’t be too overwhelming.

Once NP students are further along in their education, they can become an asset to your practice.  A capable nurse practitioner student should be able to take thorough patient histories and develop treatment plans for your patients.  They can educate your patients upon discharge saving you, the provider, time.  If you are looking to add an NP to your practice, precepting a nurse practitioner student can also serve as an extended job interview helping you find the right candidate for the job.

Some providers worry their patients won’t want to be seen by a student and that hosting an NP student could make their patients uncomfortable.  In practice I find the opposite.  Patients want to tell their stories and share their experiences.  They want to be heard.  NP students can spend time with your patients offering a listening ear as well as health coaching our patients need but most of us don’t have time to give.

We need more NPs, PA’s and MD’s out there willing to help train future nurse practitioners!  If you are willing to precept an NP student, e-mail erin.tolbert@thriveap.com to be matched with a student.

Have you ever precepted a nurse practitioner student?  What was the experience like?


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