Success as a Preceptor

Your success as a preceptor in helping to educate our students is important to us. We want to ensure you are adequately prepared to engage in purposeful interactions with our students in the clinical environment. Before a student begins his or her clinical experience, connect to discuss the following topics.

  • Expectations in the clinical setting
  • The typical flow of the day and appropriate patients for the student at the start of each clinical day
  • Boundaries for the student in the clinical setting
  • Personal space for the student and preceptor
  • HIPAA guidelines
  • Respect for colleagues, friends, or personal contacts in the clinical setting
  • Means of communication in the event the student cannot attend clinical
  • Your comfort level of the student's interaction and conversation with patients and colleagues in a group setting or during a patient visit
  • The length of time needed by the student to feel comfortable in the new role will vary greatly. It is up to the individual student and preceptor to design the clinical experience that best meets their needs.
  • How many hours/days per week are needed to work with the preceptor to obtain the required clinical hours. Discuss adjustments to the clinical schedule as necessary.
  • Any expectations for attendance at staff meetings, case review, grand rounds or other department functions
  • Off-site conferences do not count toward clinical time.

Student should present to clinical in professional dress with a lab coat, student identification, stethoscope and any other tools identified as determined by the clinical setting.

Address policies and procedures required in the clinical setting. Also review any special considerations in dealing with hospital, clinic personnel or clients and any expectations for attendance at staff meetings, case review, grand rounds or other department functions.

  • May request a copy of the student’s resume or curriculum vitae (CV) and review document to familiarize yourself with the student’s history or experience.
  • You will receive the syllabus; review the learning outcomes with the student.
  • Discuss with the student their learning style and successful ways they have learned in the past.
  • Reflect on your preferred teaching style and how this will influence the manner in which you precept the student.

Student should present to clinical with proper identification required by the clinical institution.

If your institution requires students to have a UC ID badge, students can obtain one by following instructions on the Graduate Student Registration page.

Feedback & Evaluation


Feedback is critical to student success and learning. Provide the student with anecdotal feedback regularly to improve performance and promote progression in the clinical setting. Feedback should be provided immediately whether offering praise or opportunity for improvement. Consider debriefing at the end of each clinical day. Identify self-directed learning opportunities for the student outside of the clinical setting and set goals for the next clinical day.


Evaluations are deployed by the student twice during the semester using our online evaluation system. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the midpoint with the preceptor and communicate the need to have the evaluation completed. The same applies for the final evaluation in the final days of clinical. The evaluation is a formal assessment of the student’s progress in the clinical setting. Consider the feedback you have provided the student up until this point and whether you have noted progression and improved performance. Use this opportunity to formally identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Provide details supporting the evaluation with specific examples if possible. Following the midterm evaluation, set aside time to discuss with the student. Verbally discuss expectations and hold the student accountable for any goals set for the remainder of the semester.

Working with a Challenging Student

Discuss with the faculty specific concerns you may have with the student. In an effort to organize your thoughts and concerns consider the following approach using the SOAP mnemonic.

Subjective: What concerns you most about the student? Consult colleagues and incorporate their thoughts or concerns on the student’s performance.

Objective: Identify specific behavior concerns and maintain documentation to reference when you are ready to discuss with the student and faculty.

Assessment: Consider how to approach specific concerns and devise a plan for remediation.

Plan: Discuss remediation plan with student and faculty. Set goals and maintain accountability.  Determine timeframe to re-assess performance and progress. 

If you encounter a difficult situation with a student please seek support from clinical faculty immediately.

It is vitally important that course faculty be involved in any problem that arises during the clinical experience. As soon as a problem is detected, faculty should be made aware of the problem and should be involved in creating a resolution. The course faculty is responsible for notifying the Program Director of the situation and ongoing progress/resolution. It is also vital that the student’s written evaluations reflect the preceptor's or student's concerns.

Optimizing Time with Students

We understand that offering preceptorship requires a large amount of time and effort of your behalf. We are grateful for the opportunity you are providing our students. Use of teaching tools in the clinical setting can optimize the time spent with the student to create a productive learning experience.