Preceptors play a vital role in the success of Frontier Nursing University (FNU) students. Preceptors serve as mentors and assist with gaining the necessary clinical experience. At FNU, students personally choose a qualified preceptor in their area who aligns with their ideals, needs and interests.
While precepting certainly adds to a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife’s workload, the reward is well worth it. To better explain their role and answer questions about precepting, regional clinical faculty (RCFs) Audra Cave, DNP, FNP-BC, Class 49 and Cathy Cook, MSN, CNM, Class 17, agreed to share their experiences as preceptors.
“I decided to precept for several reasons,” said Audra, who precepts in Spindale, N.C. “It is an excellent opportunity to give back to the community of family nurse practitioners (FNPs). I want to help the next generation of FNP providers as I had help along the way too. I also learn from students. Precepting keeps me on my toes.”
“Students teach us as much as we teach them,” added Cathy, who precepts in Galesburg, Ill. “They help us see things through new eyes. Some of us that have been practicing for a long time may not know the newest items in healthcare. Students can teach us those things if we are open and willing to learn from them.”
Part of that shared learning process is finding the time to precept. Audra suggested that having a plan can reduce stress and provide the best outcomes for the preceptor, student and patient. Building a relationship between preceptor and student is important so that both parties understand the other’s expectations.
“Meeting the student where she/he is and figuring out how best they learn,” Cathy said when asked about how to create a positive mutual experience. “What works with some does not work with others.”
Both Audra and Cathy stress that there are significant benefits to being a preceptor. Audra said that the best part of precepting is “the connection to the student and watching student growth.” Cathy added that she enjoys the moment “the light bulb comes on when the student gets it and their confidence soars.”
Audra and Cathy continue to give back by precepting and they encourage their colleagues to do the same. They stress the importance of precepting and the mutual benefits it can have for both student and preceptor.
“Do it, you will be glad you did,” Audra said. “It will remind you of your humble beginnings and refresh your passion for patient care. Knowing that you played a part in teaching a competent new provider is rewarding.”