Below are 5 stories (emphasis added by me) of the more than 30 stories from a Linked-In discussion that I started in the Nurse Practitioners Preceptors Group. If you have a Linked-In account, here’s the group link: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4662882
Here’s my discussion link if you want to read more stories: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4662882/4662882-6227886652463865857
SA – Hi Debbie thank you for posting this important topic . I too have my graduation delayed for about a year because I can’t find in a Willing preceptor. Once I find a preceptor they drop me because the office manager says I’m not in employee of that organization . Universities do nothing to help you find preceptors and that’s kind a like fraud because you come to a certain point in your coursework and you can’t even move forward . I think universities should be mandated to fine preceptors for their students are have ones that are lined up so we can finish our education and I would be willing to pay more tuition for this service . Like you I even switch schools I’m hoping that the next school would be better at finding me a preceptor and that was lost cause . You work so hard and you can’t even finish school but yet you have this huge loan debt and you’re unable to make a living because you’re stuck on a leave of absence from school because you cannot find preceptors
JR – I am in the same boat. I got all the way through South University’s FNP Program but could not find preceptor’s. I then moved to Chberlain who when I signed up told me they helped with preceptor’s, but by the time I got to the preceptor phase again no help no preceptor’s. I ended up using a company that I pay to get my classes finished. I graduate this summer.
DL – I am in the process of finding preceptors in my FNP program and it is stressful! I think there should be incentives or compensation for providers to precept students. Teaching a student is absolutely more work and should be rewarded. I believe some physicians in certain states can get tax breaks for taking students. It should be the same for APRNs… or schools should pay something for the preceptors as adjunct professors. Undergraduate RN preceptors get paid… Graduate school tuition is expensive and the school should use some portion towards clinical preceptors.
AR – Locating, securing, and keeping preceptors was the biggest challenge and most difficult part of my FNP program. The school was pretty useless when it came to assisting me too. They did not prepare me for that when I signed up.
DW – I agree that NP Universities should help students find their Preceptor’s. When I went through my program back in 2001 they were finding Preceptors. Now hardly any schools arrange the preceptors. A few Universities offer honorariums which help secure Preceptors. When I did a short survey of NPs, about 80% said they would start precepting if they were compensated. However, the problem is often the employer as well. Sometimes the nurse practitioner wants to precept and the physician or CEO declines having a student. I think reasonable changes that should be advocated for include: (1) the schools developing University run clinics where the NP instructors run/staff the clinic while teaching the students. A few of these exist and are usually cash pay and the patient knows in return for low self pay rate a student will be working with the provider. This however limits the amount of students a program can take- which they should do anyway since there is a shortage of available preceptors. Secondly, I think all NP programs schools be required to publish their retention rate and matriculation rate like other colleges do. If 50% of your students don’t graduate within the allotted time due to lack of preceptors, then people should know that prior to applying. If your program is advertised as 3 years long, but the average student is taking 6 years due to sitting out for lack of clinical site, then that should be disclosed. Likewise, if 125 people start the program, but only 35 finish, disclose . Once Universities are held accountable and start disclosing these stats, they may do a better job with actually placing their students and making sure their retention and matriculation rates are comparable with other schools. When enrollment declines due to poor stats, changes will be made. Push for these numbers to be disclosed. Also how many graduates are able to find jobs. The problem is most schools lump this information together and it needs to also be program specific