Orientation and Communicating Student ExpectationsBecoming a Preceptor

Orientation of the student to the rotation site serves several purposes. Orientation facilitates a quicker transition in allowing the student to become a member of the medical team. It also establishes a feeling of enthusiasm and belonging to the team as well as helping students develop the functional capability to work more efficiently.

On the first day of the rotation (or when possible, prior to the rotation), the student should take care of any administrative needs, including obtaining a name badge and computer password, and completing any necessary paperwork, EMR training, and additional sitespecific
HIPAA training, if needed.

Early on in the clinical rotation, it is recommended that the preceptor and student formulate mutual goals in regards to what they hope to achieve during the rotation. The preceptor should also communicate his or her expectations of the student during the rotation.  Expectations can include:

  • Hours
  • Interactions with office and professional staff
  • General attendance
  • Call schedules
  • Overnight/weekend schedules
  • Participation during rounds and conferences
  • Expectations for clinical care, patient interaction, and procedures
  • Oral presentations
  • Written documentation
  • Assignments
  • Write-ups
  • Anything additional that the preceptor feels is necessary

Students are expected to communicate with preceptors any special scheduling needs they may have during the rotation — in particular, when they may be out of the clinical setting for either personal reasons or program-required educational activities. If students anticipate missing clinical time for personal reasons, they should alert the clinical coordinator well in advance of the clinic absence.

Many sites find it helpful to create their own written orientation manual, which is given to the student prior to the first day of the rotation. This helps the students quickly become more efficient. Creating such a site-specific orientation/policy manual can be delegated to the students you host, with each “subsequent” student adding to a document that you as the preceptor maintain and edit.

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