Many times I have heard the frustration of the Nurse Practitioner students not finding a preceptor for their practicum. I had been through the same situation, so I understand how cumbersome it is to find a preceptor. Those students who found their preceptor without any effort are really lucky. I would like to say ‘Don’t Give Up’ for those who have tried their best, but with no luck. If you have already started your journey and if you are passionate to become a nurse practitioner, there is no doubt you will be there. Give continuous effort without giving hope and try reaching each nurse practitioners or MD as you can. Different strategies that can be implemented to find preceptor are:
1) Find the list of the clinics nearby your place and contact each of them. You may not be able to talk to NP or MD directly over the phone or in-person, speak with office manager or leave your contact information, message, and resume and ask them to contact you back or the best time person and number to follow up with them.
2) Become a member of ENP network to access the list of the NP preceptors who are willing precept NP student. You have to pay some amount to get access of their list. Here is the link https://www.enpnetwork.com/
3) Best worked option for me was charitable clinic. You might want to check the association of charitable clinics in your States and email or call each of them. In Texas, they have Lone star Association of Charitable Clinics, I sent email to all clinics under Lone star association of charitable clinics. My experience is sending email works better than phone or in person. This is my last week of first practicum and I can say charitable clinic a great place to begin your preceptorship.
4) Contact your state or local nurse practitioner group and be a member to attend their meetings so that you can do networking with other nurse practitioner and also can access the list of the interested preceptors.
5) Create a LinkedIn account and update all your professional information. It is a professional networking web site, search for the nurse practitioners, send them friend request with message including your interest and NP school’s requirements.
6) Continuous follow up is the key. You might have sent a lot of email and called many places, but getting no response is overwhelmed and leave a bad experience. Contact second or the third time to those places where you were not able to contact for the first time. Make a list of preceptors who have asked you to contact after few months and follow up with them in time.
7) Planning a head can make your search easier. Plan at least 5-6 months before the start date of your practicum.
8) Asking with your colleagues, relatives, and primary care providers can also be an effective approach.
9) If a nurse practitioner or MD said they are not available to precept you, ask them politely to refer their friends who might be willing to precept. Also, if you have found one preceptor they can help you find another preceptor. My preceptor is helping me find another preceptor.
10) Most of the time you might not find the right email and phone number to reach to the right person and you may end up with none, despite your effort. Try to contact the clinic manager and talk to them that will save your time and will be more helpful as well.
11) Joining Facebook page of different groups of nurse practitioner and sharing your search in their page can be very helpful, such as ‘Nurse Practitioners Offering to be a Preceptor’ and ‘Family Nurse Practitioner Networking Group’