Are you tired of being a kind and nurturing preceptor? Are you looking for new ways to make your students' lives just a tad more challenging? Well, you're in luck! Here, we'll explore some unconventional and humorous strategies to keep those eager students guessing and occasionally questioning their career choices. (This is the counter of my last article, “The Art of Annoying Your Preceptor: A Masterclass in What Not To Do." It seemed only fair to play both sides of this!) Remember, this is written tongue-in-cheek, and we certainly are NOT making light of these real situations that students report. As always, we encourage positive teaching practices and quality education. Let's dive into the world of “Preceptor What Not To Do’s.”
1. The Art of Misleading Guidance
Why give clear and concise instructions when you can leave your students utterly baffled? Offer cryptic guidance, like "You'll know it when you see it" or "Trust your instincts." Watch as they struggle to decode your enigmatic wisdom. (Although this can be true!)
2. The Rotating Expectation Wheel
Keep your students on their toes by frequently changing your expectations. One day, emphasize the importance of a complete history when reporting; the next, act as if it's an optional concept and tell them you don’t have time for all this information. This rollercoaster of expectations will leave them exhilarated (and confused).
3. The "Withholding Information" Game
Why spoon-feed knowledge when you can make your students work for it? Deliberately withhold essential details and watch as they embark on wild goose chases for information they didn't know they needed.
4. The Mystery Diagnosis Challenge
Create a medical mystery that Sherlock Holmes himself would struggle to solve. Give your students obscure symptoms and contradictory test results. Bonus points for making them question their medical knowledge.
5. The Rapid-Fire Question Round
During rounds or presentations, fire a relentless barrage of questions at your students with no regard for their confidence or preparedness. Encourage your colleagues to join in for maximum stress.
6. The "Impending Doom" Vibe
Maintain a perpetual aura of impending doom during your teaching sessions. Throw in phrases like "This is a make-or-break moment," "The stakes have never been higher," and "Good luck." Bonus points if you can make them break a sweat.
7. The Accidental "Over-The-Top" Sarcasm
Incorporate sarcasm into your feedback and pretend you're utterly amazed by their simplest accomplishments. For example, "Wow, you managed to tie your shoelaces today. Impressive."
8. The "Missing Mentor" Routine
Occasionally disappear for extended coffee breaks or long lunches, leaving your students to fend for themselves. It's essential to test their independence, right?
9. The "Unpredictable Availability" Schedule
One day, be overly accessible and offer endless guidance. The next, become a ghost, leaving your students frantically searching for answers. It's all part of the adventure!
10. The Guilt-Inducing Hints
Drop subtle hints about the competitiveness of the medical field and the astronomical debt they'll accumulate. Make them second-guess every life choice that led them to your preceptorship.
11. The "Disparaging Dialogue" Act
For an extra dose of discomfort, publicly criticize your students in front of colleagues, patients, and anyone who'll listen. Nitpick their every move, question their competence, and make them feel like they're perpetually under a microscope. Remember, sarcasm and passive-aggressiveness are your best allies in this endeavor. (Please don’t do this! If you need to speak to your student, do it privately and professionally. If needed, bring in their faculty.)
We LOVE and value our preceptors! But, just like students, not all have the most ideal teaching skills. Building a positive and supportive learning environment is the key to producing confident and capable clinicians. So, go forth and do your best at precepting! Consider adding a dash of humor and a whole lot of encouragement!
As a longtime NP with a desire to help and make positive changes to her beloved profession, Lynn often writes opinion pieces about the NP profession.
"Why NPs train on the backs of physicians"