Guide for Preceptors


Clinical teaching is time-limited.  You will be modeling how to think on your feet in a busy practice or hospital, how to assess the basic facts, weigh the most likely options based on your knowledge & expertise, and quickly establish a reasonable diagnosis and treatment plan.  The student will be learning as he watches you and tries to practice what he observes.  To facilitate his learning:
  1. Ask the student what he thinks the patient’s main problem is & what causes he suspects
  2. Check to see what evidence she can supply
  3. Reinforce his efforts & accuracies, and gently redirect errors in reasoning
  4. Briefly mention a relevant general principle that applies in this and similar cases
  5. Check to see if the student needs additional information (if she does, refer her to resources)
  6. End with a concluding statement and move on to the next patient or task.
The Preceptor Development Initiative has created eight modules on aspects of preceptor work and responsibilities. These slide presentations, some with embedded videos, are clear and succinct and contain useful information. The modules include:
  1. Setting the stage
  2. The Role Learning Plays
  3. Enhancing Your Teaching Skills
  4. Fostering Clinical Reasoning
  5. Giving Feedback
  6. The Evaluation Process
  7. Supporting the Struggling Student
  8. Conflict Resolution

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