Education Materials

Skills for Teaching: Nurse Practitioner Preceptor Quick Reference

Clinical teaching requires skills in assessment and communication to take place in the context of a busy clinical practice environment when time is limited and client expectations are high. Guidelines are provided to help the preceptor mentor and teach in this setting.

Steps to Teaching with Individual Patient Encounters

1. Get a Commitment from a Student

Student presents case, then waits for your response and assessment. At this point, ask the student what s/he thinks about the issue and data collected. Asking these questions allows you to ascertain the student’s knowledge base and learning needs.

2. Question Supporting Evidence

Student makes a diagnosis and asks preceptor for confirmation. Before offering your opinion, ask the student what evidence exists to support her/his conclusions. This step encourages active learning, allows insight into their though process and allows you to identify gaps in knowledge and misconceptions.

3. Provide General Guidance

Preceptor provides pertinent general rules and guidelines. “When this happens, you should generally do…”

4. Reinforce the Good

The student has handled the encounter effectively. Provide acknowledgement, and provide feedback on the specific skills and actions that facilitated the successful clinical encounter. This should be done as close to the encounter as possible to reinforce desired skills and establish an opportunity to provide constructive feedback as well.

5. Correct Mistakes

The student has made errors in assessment and/or diagnosis (omissions, conclusions, interventions, management). Review these issues with the student in a private location in a timely manner. Allow the student to provide her/his own critique first, then discuss your assessment of the situation and how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Without this step, the mistakes are likely to re-occur.