Article Title

Preceptorship, 2nd installment


After introducing the clinical student to your practice and upon completion of their first day spent with staff and orientation, it is time to move on to the learning contract. The learning contract is a roadmap or agreement between the preceptor and student regarding what needs to be learned, what is expected by the preceptor upon completion of the rotation, what the student wants to come away with, and how evaluation will be completed.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of the preceptor and student may differ. Then again, they may be different for the school as well. Resolving the conflicts right from the start is the best way to assure a more productive and enjoyable experience for both. It will also reduce any surprises during the evaluation.

Components of the Learning Contract

The School
First review the objectives of the school. What does the school expect the student to learn? Ask the student where they are strong and weak. Do they know? Can you help them to determine these areas? Next, take this information and determine the following.

A look at the student.

  1. Goals of the student. What does the student want out of the rotation? Shoot for specifics.
  2. How will the student learn? Observation, Participation, Research?
  3. How will the student demonstrate knowledge? Supervised activities, patient interaction?
  4. How will the student be evaluated? How often?

The Preceptor
What do you as preceptor expect the student to learn?

  1. How will you know the student has learned it?
  2. How will you have the student demonstrate knowledge?
  3. When and how will you evaluate the student? Perhaps throughout the rotation you will sit down with the student to determine their knowledge level. Evaluate the student at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the rotation.

Next, have the student put everything in writing and you should both sign it.

Along with the learning contract, you will want to review your personal policies with the student.

  1. Hours and days that the student will be in the office / hospital.
  2. Amount and type of reading expected.
  3. How patients are selected for the student.
  4. Case presentation expectations.
  5. Absentee policy.
  6. Dress code.
  7. Values of the office, practice or department. Mission of the office, practice or department.
  8. Days off for the preceptor and who will cover.

Next edition, a look at methods of teaching in the clinical arena.


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