Attention All Nurse Practitioner Students!!
As president and the recipient of more than 10-12 emails weekly from Nurse Practitioner students seeking a preceptor as well as a clinical placement, let me say do not become frantic or panic. UAPRN, specifically myself and my other state and chapter officers have heard your cries for help.
Many of you are coming from an online NP program from very reputable and academically solid institutions. The dilemma comes in to play when many of the preceptors are unfamiliar with your academic affiliation. Let me offer some very helpful hints to facilitate the process in your search:
1. Join UAPRN at the student cost of $50.00 annually. After joining,....
2. Seek out the chapter that you live closest too and contact that chapter president. The contact information is located on the member section of the state UAPRN website. Explain to him or her your current position in your program and what you are seeking as far as preceptors and placements of interests.
3. Then, collaborate with that chapter officer in securing the next date of when your chapter will meet and ask the chapter officer if he/she will introduce you at the end of the dinner presentation.
4. Do your homework ahead of time and come prepared!! Bring your student business cards as well as 4 or 5 of your most current professional resumes to distribute. Furthermore, dress professionally. This approach always works well as you can plan ahead and possibly secure 2 to 3 preceptors all at once.
5. Even though you feel overwhelmed with work and school, make a conscience decision to get involved with UAPRN through attending its meetings. This gets your face out there, it makes others remember you, and it becomes easier to network in our community for a preceptor or even an employment position.
6. The more effort you place into UAPRN, the more the members will remember you and what you are wanting to find in clinical rotations.
7. Get ahead of time a copy of your institution’s contract that it normally sends a potential preceptor. If you have a copy, you can take the initiative by giving it to the potential preceptor for his/her review. This cuts down on time and greatly minimizes turn around time of your school. Plus, it shows your school's faculty that you have initiative.
8. Also, have a copy of the didactic lecture curriculum that corresponds with your clinical rotation i.e. primary care, pediatric care, family care etc. This is extremely important and allows the potential preceptor to better understand where you are at in the educational process of becoming a Nurse Practitioner. It also tells the potential preceptor if he/she can give you exactly what you need at that place in your education, hence, it makes for a better "clinical fit." Place all of these important documents plus a description about your NP program into one folder to give to your potential preceptor. If you do find someone at the dinner presentation who is interested in "possibly" assisting you, give him/her the folder and agree upon a time the following week to contact them. This allows him/her time to review the folder, discuss with his/her direct supervisor about taking on a NP student, as well as reflect over your specific educational needs at that time. If the UAPRN Nurse Practitioner declines, be polite and thank them for taking their time to review your folder. Who knows, he/she may know a colleague that would be perfect for you. Always ask him/her if any other peer might be interested and ask the UAPRN NP to intervene on your behalf. Lastly, never allow the door to close completely before you ask the UAPRN NP about a future preceptoring between the two of you. It’s possible that the timing just simply isn’t conducive to have a NP student at that time.
9. Lastly, if you have tried all of these recommendations and still are experiencing problems at securing a preceptor, please contact me for more advanced interventions as I want to help our fellow NP students, especially those who are students members. Don't get frustrated and know that UAPRN is here to assist you.
10. The last tidbit of information is what I tell all my NP students as it was told to me. Once you feel confident in the area that you may want to work in immediately after graduation, chose a rotation that reflects that specialty so that you can really shine and show them your very, very best during your last rotation. I used this exact approach and secured a job before I ever graduated from my NP program.
I hope these recommendations will help all of us. Good luck!!
James F. Lawrence, Ph.D. APRN BC FAANP CPS