A pivotal component of the Program is the incorporation of a primary care preceptor throughout the entire clinical component of the program.
The clinical experience is structured on a rotating basis with on-campus didactic sessions, this allows for an ongoing student-preceptor-faculty relationship and educational experience. The clinical experience is not considered a practicum or an internship, but is an integral part of the student's learning process.
The Primary Care Preceptor Overview provides further information for the physician and/or physician assistant preceptor regarding program expectations and preceptor responsibilities.
Applicants who apply as a team with a licensed physician (MD or DO), physician assistant or site who is willing to serve as the primary care preceptor to the student during the clinical portion of the program. The preceptor must practice in Primary Care / Family Medicine with patients of all ages and be willing to commit to educating the student. This clinical preceptor/site may be located in the student's home area. Application instructions are found on How to Apply.
Each participating physician, physician assistant or site is required to sign a written agreement indicating commitment and willingness to serve as the primary care preceptor and provide one-on-one clinical teaching, supervision, and evaluation feedback with the student for the entire length of the program.
At the beginning of the first clinical phase, the student's primary care preceptor will receive the Preceptor Handbook which includes learning objectives & detailed guidelines for each clinical phase.
The following are attributes of an acceptable Physician/Physician Assistant Primary Care Preceptor:
- Current license to practice medicine in the specific state of the student's home
- Primary care practice in family medicine (excluding urgent care & ER settings)
- Good standing with the state medical board
- Personal professional liability coverage
- Provide evidence of on-going continuing medical education efforts
- Board Certification
- Past clinical teaching experience or past supervision of PAs
Commitment to the Program
- Receptive attitude concerning the role of physician assistants in health care
- Willingness to meet with a member of faculty during the first clinical phase. This meeting will be at the preceptor’s place of clinical practice
- Willingness to collaborate with the PA Program in the teaching/learning process, including, time for scheduled phone conferences during the second and third clinical phase, and at other times if necessary
- Willingness to alter practice schedule, as needed, to allow time for teaching his/her physician assistant student
- Agreement to supervise and evaluate student performance
- Interest in working with the physician assistant graduate upon completion of the Program
- Located in rural area and/or in underserved area
- Well established practice with apparent future stability
- Sufficiently large and diverse patient volume for teaching (including ages across the lifespan)
- Practice and community receptive to the physician assistant
- Adequate office space to accommodate student
- Availability of local hospital and nursing home sites for student to obtain valuable experiences in such settings
There are certain guidelines based on previous experiences as well as legal, social and other considerations that are followed to the mutual benefit of the practice setting, primary care preceptor, student and PA Program. These guidelines should be viewed as flexible and interpreted and implemented in a manner most appropriate to the local setting.
- The student will require the opportunity to apply new knowledge and skills in the practice setting under close supervision. As the student gains competence, the primary care preceptor and student mutually develop appropriate patterns of practice that insure ongoing supervision and role development.
- The initial patient load must be light enough to allow the student to develop skills and competencies; however, it must be large enough to demand that the student learns to set priorities. Specific guidelines are set for each of the three clinical phases and will be provided for the preceptor.
- All patients seen by the student for care must also be seen by the preceptor. As the preceptor becomes assured of the student's ability, selected tasks may be delegated and management may be carried out by the student under mutually understood and accepted guidelines. At all times, the student must have access to guidance and responsible supervision from the physician in relation to medical decisions.
- The student should be provided with space in the office setting to see patients. This area should be in close proximity to the preceptor as ready access for supervision must be assured.
- The projected role of the student should be discussed in advance with all personnel working in the clinic to avoid misunderstandings regarding responsibilities. Clinic personnel are to inform patients when they are seen first by a physician assistant student.
Primary Care Preceptor Responsibilities:
The primary care preceptor responsibilities center upon on-going teaching, supervision, and evaluation of the student.
- Adhere to the University of North Dakota Physician Assistant Program objectives
- Conduct teaching sessions with the student
- Review the Preceptor Manual for guidelines for each Clinical Phase
- Give additional assignments based on learning needs
- Regularly observe the student's clinical performance for teaching and evaluation purposes
- Designate an alternate preceptor to provide supervision to the student in the absence of the primary care preceptor
- Regularly review the student's “Case and Time Logs”
- Provide the student with clinical experiences outside the practice setting but within his/her referral pattern, as needed to facilitate fulfillment of the PA Program objectives
- Provide evaluations verbal, written and electronic to the PA Program regarding student progress and performance
- Oversee and assist the student in meeting Program deadlines and in progressing satisfactorily toward graduation
- Communicate to the Physician Assistant Program faculty regarding any problems that arise with the student's performance or role in the practice
- Communicate with the administration of any health care facility that a PA student is working with him/her
Applicants without designated preceptor/site at time of application will be placed within a designated site to complete clinical rotations. Sites will be located in North Dakota and the surrounding area. Flexibility is expected as clinical sites may require relocation and adaptability.