Preceptors for nurse practitioner students can be hard to find.
Since 2018, back when I started this business & community, I’ve noticed and heard from many of you that finding a preceptor is a challenge and a huge barrier for you.
Many programs RELY on their students to coordinate their own clinical rotations, and I know how searching for a preceptor:
❌ Eats up a lot of your time
❌ Affects your graduation timeline
❌ Costs money
❌ and overall just Looms over your head…
So, in today’s episode, I’m sharing:
- My four-step framework for finding & securing an NP preceptor
- Questions to ask ahead of time to get organized in your clinical preceptor search
- Exactly what to type into Google to find local NP preceptor opportunities
- 3 different “reach out plans” for contacting clinics
- How to follow up correctly
This episode will help you greatly, but I have SO much more to give you & teach you…
If you’d like to dive deeper into finding the right preceptors, map out a plan together, and get your specific questions answered,
I am hosting a live masterclass on July 14th all on how to find and secure NP preceptors and clinical sites, so you can…
1️⃣ Avoid the common difficulties NP students face when searching for preceptors
2️⃣ Find a preceptor that is available and excited to guide you in your clinical rotations
3️⃣ Complete your clinical hours on time & start your new career path!
LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED TODAY:
- Click Here To Read The Full Transcription for this episode!
- Learn more about HCA Healthcare’s Nurse Residency Program at: careers.hcahealthcare.com/residency
- If you enjoyed this episode and would like to support me in being able to create new & valuable content for The Nurse Becoming Podcast, buy me a coffee here ☕️ 😊
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Your Guide to Finding an NP Preceptor:
Step 1: Organize & Write Down Your Needs
Before you even think about reaching out to a clinical site, you first need to know what you’re going to be responsible for when it comes to your clinical rotations. This information will likely come to you from your school, or hopefully be available by asking a few questions.
The information that you’ll want will include:
- Number of hours required per specialty or rotation.
- The different parameters of the rotation.
For example, Who does your preceptorship need to be with? (Does it need to be with an NP? Can it be with a PA or physician?) And/or, What sort of settings do you need based on your specialty track?
- Your expected competencies
What needs to be accomplished during this rotation?
Which semesters and what months does each rotation need to be completed in?
Once you’ve gathered this important information, move onto Step 2…
Step 2: Find Potential Clinical Sites
Listen – what’s NOT going to work is going into Google and typing in, “nurse practitioner preceptors near me”. Sure, there may be a variety of databases you can check, such as professional organizations, alumni groups, preceptor finder boards, but here’s what I find to be most helpful:
- Tap into your existing network.
You may already have people that you can call on for support.
For example, if you’re doing an acute care NP program, and your RN background has been in critical care, then you hopefully have some connections, or some people that you can ask who are providers in critical care.
Best case scenario, you can pull one aside and say, “Hey, I’m in an acute care NP program. Does your group precept students? If not, who can you connect me with?”
Having these types of conversations can be really helpful.
You can also ask other NPs in your network who were recently in NP school and say, “Hey, did you have good clinical rotations? Can you pass along the information?”
Get creative while thinking about your existing network and really analyze your spider web of connections – which includes classmates, coworkers, etc. – to see who can connect you with a great opportunity!
Now, if that’s a dead end for you, or you don’t have those types of connections, the next place that you can go to is…
- Use Google Maps.
For example, if you are doing the FNP tract and you know that you need a certain number of pediatric hours that you want to do at a pediatrician’s office with either a pediatrician or a PNP –
Go to Google Maps.
Set your preferred commute radius and type in “pediatrician” and see what you find.
Keep a list of all these potential places that could be good clinical sites for you.
Another thing to consider is the potential job opportunities post-graduation. Since you’re already doing valuable research to find great clinical sites, why not also think about whether your ideal preceptor site is also a great place to work after graduation!
After all, your clinical rotations are essentially working interviews. If you can line things up and have a clinical rotation in a place that is also a great potential place to work, then you may have a better chance of turning that rotation into a job offer once you’re getting ready to graduate!
Step 3: Reach out to your top potential clinical sites
So hopefully with your shortlist of clinical sites you’ve either received their contact information from network connections, or you’ve found their details based on your searching of maps.
From here, choose how you’re going to reach out to these sites – email, in-person, or phone call. Send a preceptor request letter or a preceptor request email, and attach your résumé. In this letter, make sure to introduce yourself, ask if they take students, and explain to them what you need. (Pssst! If you take my workshop, you’ll get scripts for nailing your next reach out request letter!)
Step 4: Reach out to your top potential clinical sites
Following up is so important that it deserves its own step!
Commit to at least two follow ups per site about one to two weeks apart. Sometimes your first inquiries will either get missed or get buried in the email inbox. It’s normal, don’t take it personally! Give people the benefit of the doubt and plan to follow up a week or two after your initial outreach.
I hope this article is valuable to you, and that your experience of having to find a preceptor feels a little bit less daunting.
But if you’d still like some extra support, I’m hosting a live masterclass on July 14 to give you all the ins and outs of finding & securing an NP preceptor.
This is for you if you’re…
- Tired of having this hanging over your head as something you need to set up in order to graduate on time.🙂Feeling discouraged that you can’t find a preceptor (or unsure where to even start looking for one.)
- Struggling with finding the right words to reach out to potential preceptors so that they say, “yes!”
- Not-wanting to just take any clinical experience out of desperation – you actually WANT a great experience that could turn into a job opportunity!
- Looking to save hundreds of dollars on preceptor-finding platform fees and get results FASTER.
This is a BRAND NEW masterclass, so even if you’ve taken my trainings in the past, you won’t want to miss this!
I’ll be sharing some real strategies on how to find & secure the right-fit preceptor, as well as open up the floor for a live coaching-style Q&A!
Even if you can’t make it on the date, you’ll get recording access! So just click the link below to save your spot!
Until next week, I’m rooting for you!