Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
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KCOM

Preceptors

Your Role as a Preceptor Benefits for Preceptor

Professional Development Preceptor CE Credit

Academic & Clinical Educational Affairs contact & Regional Site locations

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What does KCOM expect of me as a preceptor?
  2. What are the benefits of being a preceptor?
  3. Am I doing a good job for KCOM?
  4. How do I know if I am teaching the right material? What are the objectives?
  5. What skills have students practiced before beginning rotations?
  6. How are the student grades for clinical rotations determined?
  7. What happens to the "Clinical Evaluation Form" that I complete for students?
  8. How do I provide a good student evaluation?
  9. Who do I call if there is a problem with a student or a rotation?
  10. How much can, and should, the preceptor let the student note on patient charts?
  11. I can't attend a class right now, but would like to start developing/enhancing my skills as a preceptor. Are there any "shortcuts" for improving these skills?
  12. I have some thoughts and ideas about teaching. How can I tell you what I think?

Answers

  1. What does KCOM expect of me as a preceptor?

    We want you to know that KCOM truly appreciates off-campus faculty and preceptors, as students clearly obtain the best education possible from community-based clinical faculty. Naturally, it is our duty as a College to provide you with tools to carry-out your unique role.

    Core rotation objectives help preceptors identify the College's expectations for each student's course of study. We ask that you, the preceptor, help optimize this teaching/learning goal by assuming the following functions:

    ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES:

    • Orient student to the rotation and training site. Clearly identify specific service and personal expectations.
    • Encourage office/ancillary care staff to be helpful and make student feel a part of the team.
    • Complete a formal written evaluation of the student's performance during the rotation.
    • Contact the Regional Dean to discuss issues of concern and poor student performance.

    TEACHING DUTIES:

    • Serve as a mentor (experienced and prudent advisor) who assists the student in applying knowledge and building skills to problem-solve patient care.
    • Review the applicable rotation objectives and self-study questions.
    • Provide a variety of patient cases and adequate patient volume.
    • Challenge the student with deliberate and thoughtful questions.
    • Allow the student to participate in patient management to a degree appropriate for the level of training.
    • Provide written and verbal feedback to the student in a constructive and timely manner.
    • Be available, on site, for assistance during all patient care activities.
    • Share learning resources (texts, computers and educational programs if available) sufficient to increase student knowledge and productivity.
    • Assign readings, literature searches, or medical information gathering pertinent to patient cases.
    • Integrate Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine into the rotation experience. As such, encourage the use of hands-on OMT as appropriate for the level of training.

    A number of helpful teaching aids are included on this website in the section "Preceptor Education Opportunities."

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  2. What are the benefits of being a preceptor?

    Many of the benefits of being a preceptor are intangible. Preceptors tell us that they "enjoy having students in their offices," that they "are stimulated to keep up with recent trends and ideas in medicine," and that their staff and patients enjoy teaching and learning from the students. In addition to the intangibles, KCOM provides formal benefits depending on the level of student being taught, length of time one has precepted, and the number of students a preceptor has committed to training in a given year. Click here for additional information on benefits.

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  3. Am I doing a good job for KCOM?

    KCOM determines the quality of a preceptor’s ability to train our off-site students based on several components: the physician’s certification, his or her willingness to work with students according to the school’s educational objectives, and the student's evaluation of the rotation. Click here to view a clinical teaching self-assessment tool that is available for your use.

    As you may know, students are required to assess each rotation using a standard evaluation form. This involves numerical ratings and may also include additional remarks. KCOM is currently determining how best to take this information and give it back in a meaningful way. Click below to view forms used by students to evaluate preceptor performance:

    We encourage our off-campus preceptors to work with their Regional Assistant Deans to get a better understanding of how to evaluate their work as office-based educators. If any preceptor has specific questions about their abilities, they are strongly encouraged to meet with the DME and/or Regional Assistant Dean to get this feedback.

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  4. How do I know if I am teaching the right material? What are the objectives?

    Objectives are available for each of the core rotations. Students should be exposed to the listed medical conditions and treatment strategies throughout the course of the rotation.

    However, not all objectives for Family Medicine, for instance, must be achieved in the first Family Medicine rotation during the 3rd year. The learning objectives for KCOM students are "Exit Objectives." These are goals for the student to achieve by graduation. In general, preceptors may emphasize diagnostic concepts in the 3rd year and treatment concepts during the 4th year to better focus their teaching efforts. Preceptors are encouraged to:

    1. Review all the objectives for their area
    2. Emphasize those issues or conditions supported by their patient base

    In addition to working in the office and hospital with patients, students are expected to attend scheduled didactic sessions, journal club meetings, and other formal educational offerings, and to maintain a rigorous reading program. As a preceptor, we expect that you will assign readings and literature searches pertinent to your practice, the types of cases you see, and readings related to topics on the post rotation exams. Discussion with students about these assignments will help them verbalize and organize the material and enable you to redirect student learning as needed. (Reading lists are under construction.)

    Note: Building on recent enhancements to the 3rd year curriculum, KCOM is in the process of further strengthening the 3rd and 4th year curriculum. Additions to the 4th year curriculum will include post rotation exams and learning modules for students and preceptors.

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  5. What skills have students practiced before beginning rotations?

    YEAR ONE
    Students begin to learn clinical skills early in the first year. KCOM has a series of courses entitled "The Complete Doctor" in which students begin to develop medical interviewing and physical examination skills, and learn medical record-keeping. Highlights of this course include opportunities to assist with (first year) or perform (second year) screening physicals on K-12 students in the local schools; small-group labs learning the components of the complete physical exam; and practice interviewing and examining simulated patients. By the end of the first year, students have completed BCLS and Universal Precautions training and are expected to be able to complete a History and Physical, draw blood and give injections.

    Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) skills are taught throughout the first two years. During the first year the techniques are aligned with the teaching of anatomy and the physical exam skills. Students learn to perform an osteopathic musculoskeletal exam, study postural x-rays and record findings appropriately.

    At the end of the first year, students spend two weeks in the office of a primary care physician. This rotation allows them to practice interviewing and physical exam skills, while experiencing the "feel" of primary care.

    YEAR TWO
    Basic surgical skills, reading EKGs and x-rays, basic lab work, interpreting PFTs and ABGs, normal developmental milestones and immunization schedules for children, are added during the second year.

    OMM skills added in the second year include cranial manipulation and the use of manipulation in the treatment of systemic diseases and hospitalized patients. Advanced Palpatory Skills Development, late in the second year, provides opportunities for students to refine the skills they have learned by diagnosing and treating volunteer patients under the supervision of a clinician.

    Before students leave for rotations, they have completed 1,216 hours of clinical coursework, including labs. During their last quarter, students' skill levels are sampled using a series of OSCE (Objective Structure Clinical Examination) stations.

    Click here to view a list of clinical skills that incoming third-year students will have practiced during their first two years at KCOM.

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  6. How are the student grades for clinical rotations determined?

    Clinical grades are determined with the following components:

    • Preceptor scores and comments on the "Clinical Evaluation Form"
    • Performance on written and oral case presentations
    • Journal club participation
    • Post-rotation and post-core written examinations
    • Clinical skills exams

    Combined, these assessment tools aid the Regional Assistant Dean and full-time clinical faculty to see a more accurate and well-rounded picture of individual student progress toward advancement.

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  7. What happens to the "Clinical Evaluation Form" that I complete for students?

    Comments and scores from the evaluation serve a twofold purpose. First, the data is used by the Regional Assistant Dean to rate a student's knowledge base, clinical assessment ability, professionalism, and communication skills. This is critical information in determining the appropriateness of student promotion or remediation. Second, pertinent comments from supervising preceptors are an important aspect of the "Dean's Letter of Reference", generated individually for every senior medical student. These comments impart key information to internship and residency faculty regarding the trainee's dutifulness and abilities.

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  8. How do I provide a good student evaluation?

    Most preceptors are concerned about increasing their ability to give an equitable and honest student evaluation. There are several sources from which a preceptor can draw to provide feedback for students and the school—including staff, other physicians in the practice, and patients. The bare bones of effective feedback and evaluation include the following tips:

    • As specific as possible
    • Positive when deserved
    • Not demeaning when critical
    • Understandable
    • About things that can be changed
    • Well timed

    Click here to see a list of Seven Tips for Student Evaluation.

    To improve one’s skills in gathering assessment information and sharing that with the student in the most helpful way, KCOM has a preceptor development program available that addresses this question as well as others pertaining to our off-campus educators. See Preceptor Education Opportunities for related links.

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  9. Who do I call if there is a problem with a student or a rotation?

    Preceptors should be in regular contact with the local Director of Student Medical Education (DSME), Regional Assistant Dean or Regional Office Staff and should defer to these individuals when problems arise. Click here for a full list of the regional staff.

    NOTE: A sampling of KCOM policies are included in this web site. Contact the Regional Assistant Dean to help you understand College expectations.

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  10. How much can, and should, the preceptor let the student note on patient charts?

    This issue is complicated by strict guidelines set forth by HCFA and related to Medicare reimbursement rates. Such guidelines differ depending on whether the student is training in a "teaching hospital" or "non-teaching hospital" (differentiated by the existence of an on-site residency training program.) You must contact your local HCFA representative and hospital administrator to determine institution specific policies. Additionally, preceptors should be aware that student remarks are legally not considered part of the medical record and that simply agreeing with a student assessment or co-signing an order may not be sufficient to protect you or the patient.

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  11. I can't attend a class right now, but would like to start developing/enhancing my skills as a preceptor. Are there any "shortcuts" for improving these skills?

    Teaching is an art and a skill—both of which can be taught and learned, given the necessary time and experiences. There probably are no "shortcuts," but we've collected a few resources for your consideration. These should be helpful whether you are a seasoned preceptor or just beginning.

    First is a brief set of guidelines for making the most of your teaching time. Entitled "Tips for Efficient Instruction," this list of suggestions from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine should be quite helpful—particularly as you struggle to integrate students into increasingly busy practices.

    Second is material on "reflective practice." Most of you have probably heard the term in reference to your clinical practice, but it has HUGE applications to your teaching. We've included both a brief set of definitions or descriptions and some questions to guide your reflection on teaching.

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  12. I have some thoughts and ideas about teaching. How can I tell you what I think?

    We'd love to hear from you! Whether it's your thoughts, ideas, or tips on teaching, concerns about curriculum or policy, or irritations about whatever…, we want to hear! Send us an email at teachingandresearch@atsu.edu.

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