Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Your Role as a Preceptor Benefits for Primary Preceptors

Professional Development Preceptor CE Credit

Academic & Clinical Educational Affairs contact & Regional Site locations


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Tips for Efficient Instruction


State clearly that your time is limited; set limits to encounters.

For example, say to the student, “I can meet with you nor for 10 minutes.  You can have five minutes to ask me questions, then I need to give you some feedback on the patient we saw together. 


Make assignments that are specific and time limited.

  • “Go in, get as much history as you can in 10 minutes, and then come out and present it to me.”

  • “I have 5 minutes to discuss this case.  Please limit your presentation to three minutes.”

  • “I’d like you to examine this gentleman’s knee for 10 minutes, then I’ll come in and we’ll discuss your findings.”

Have students carry a notebook to record their questions during the day.

Follow up with them daily for 15 to 20 minutes.


Honor your appointments with students and make them brief.

If you say you’ll discuss patients with your student at the end of the day, be sure to do so.


Ask students to read about the problems of five patients they’ve seen during the day.

Be specific about where they can locate this information (textbooks, journals, article files, internet, etc.).  Set the expectation that the next morning you will ask them to give you a 10-minute oral presentation about one of the problems they’ve prepared.  (This approach assures that they will do a wide range of reading, but does not involve you in listening to a long series of oral presentations.  Be sure to follow-up and check on one of the problems you’ve assigned.)


Be realistic about how much you attempt to teach.

You can’t teach the whole discipline.  Teach what you judge the student needs, and what she or he has expressed interest in.


Expose students to your busy schedule.

Take students with you as you attend noon conferences, hospital committee meetings, boards, and civic activities.


Conduct discussions/ tutorials as you commute with the student.

By car, by foot.


Jot down patient care pearls that arise in conversation and on teaching rounds.

Collect these in a list and share with the student at the end of the clerkship and with the next student(s).


Use other staff in your office to teach the student.

Group partner, nurse, business manager, receptionist.