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Preceptor Experience


Acquiring a knowledge base and developing a clinical reasoning process are crucial to your development as a physician. There are many unique characteristics of the preceptor/student relationship that may not be found in your third year clerkships (e.g., continuity, mentorship, career choice, etc.). For this reason, you will continue to work with a physician who will serve as your clinical mentor/preceptor. Leaving the wards for a continuity clinic experience will be typical for most of your supervising residents as well as your attendings and so you are expected to do the same.

In Phase III, you will complete a minimum of 10 sessions (40 hours) with your preceptor.  You can complete these sessions at any time during your third year, depending on your schedule and that of your preceptor.  Preceptor sessions can occur during any rotation and your clinical team will help you determine the best timing for your sessions.  You are excused from your clinical duties while attending preceptor sessions.

You are also required to complete the Focus Four goal-setting sheet and log all your patient encounters.  The Focus Four is due at the end of the summer semester and should guide your preceptor experiences over the year.  We will review your logger in the fall semester to ensure that you are on track to complete your requirements by the end of the spring semester. 

You may switch to a different specialty or subspecialty preceptor during Phase III. The switch request form is available on Canvas and approval will be granted on an individual basis by the Associate Director for preceptorship.  To be approved, your switch must be purposeful and meet an individual need.  We encourage you to identify your own preceptor if possible; however, we have a list of subspecialty preceptors that we can provide for your assistance.  You can contact the 
Preceptor Coordinator Veronica Paradise or the Associate Director for Preceptorship Kristin Furfari for guidance.

By Phase III, you should be seeing patients on your own, presenting to your preceptor and documenting patient visit information. 


Tips for making your preceptor experience excellent include:

  • Accept that your experience may differ considerably from your classmates’ experiences.
  • Communicate regularly with your preceptor about what you need to be learning. It is important to take responsibility for your own learning.
  • Encourage your preceptor and the staff to schedule patients that you have seen before back for return visits so you can see them again. Ask your preceptor if there are several patients or families that you could follow more closely over your third year.
  • Tell patients that you are a medical student.
  • Integrate into the usual work pattern of the practice.
  • Be a self-directed learner and let the patient encounters drive your learning
  • Ask for help when needed

Disclaimer: We are a pluralistic society and the practice of medicine is not a hard science. You will be exposed to different styles of practice even among physicians in the same specialty. Your experiences may differ from those of your colleagues, but this is to be expected throughout your training as a physician. Please call the Associate Course Director if you feel there is a mismanaged patient care issue or ethical problem in any of the clinical situations you encounter.