What do students like to see in a preceptor?

The clinical environment remains an important aspect in the development of student’s competence, confidence, and fulfillment of their expected learning outcomes. Preceptors and clinical teachers play a significant role in preparing students to achieve their professional goals through continuous support.

Some of the most important attributes that allow students to learn most effectively is positivity, approachability, communication, and collaboration. The clinical environment can often be stressful, anxiety producing, and daunting to new students. Students learn best when the environment is welcoming, and open communication is utilized by both the student and the preceptor.

It is very helpful when the preceptor communicates clear goals and expectations for the student at the beginning of the day. When fostering an educational environment, students like when a topic is brought up and an open conversation is had to further educate them about anesthesia practice.

Students also appreciate when they feel that they have a sense of autonomy. While we absolutely want our preceptors to intervene and ensure that patient safety is always the first priority, it is easier to establish a flow and determine what techniques prove to be effective by working through them ourselves and our preceptors’ offering suggestions and intervening if there is a better way. The best preceptors are kind, non-judgmental, demonstrate broad knowledge, and explain the basis for actions and decisions.