Ah, the age-old quest to find ways to annoy your clinical preceptor - a noble endeavor indeed! While I don't condone such behavior, this is a REAL list of things that preceptors have reported. Granted, most students are not like this. Most are great, but you may see some of these things if you precept enough students! Please avoid these things so you don’t drive your clinical preceptor to the brink of madness.
1. Arrive Fashionably Late.
Show up to your clinical rotation 10, 15, or even 30 minutes late every day. After all, who needs punctuality in the medical field? Your preceptor will be thrilled to start their day with the delightful surprise of your tardiness.
2. Dress to Impress... the Wrong Way!
Forget about wearing professional attire; opt for something more whimsical. A Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops combo will surely make a memorable impression. Plunging neckline or mini-skirt will be sure to keep patients attentive and cause a stir with the office staff!
3. Question Everything.
Never miss an opportunity to question your preceptor's orders, diagnoses, or treatment plans. Make sure to do it loudly and in front of the entire medical team for maximum impact. And don’t forget the eye-roll or dismissive comment.
4. Interrupt, Interrupt, Interrupt.
Don't let anyone finish a sentence, especially your preceptor. Jump in with your thoughts, irrelevant anecdotes, or the latest trending meme. Conversation skills are overrated, anyway.
5. Google It All.
Why rely on your preceptor's extensive medical knowledge when you have Google at your fingertips? Constantly fact-check them during rounds, citing the first search result you find.
6. Never Take Notes.
Who has time for jotting down important information? Just wing it and rely on your photographic memory (if you have one). Your preceptor will be in awe of your abilities… or not.
7. Overshare Personal Details.
Ensure your preceptor knows your entire life story, from your pet hamster's dental problems to your Aunt Martha's knitting hobby. They'll appreciate the diversion from actual medical work.
8. Forget About Hygiene.
Personal hygiene is for the weak. Show up smelling like a dumpster on a hot summer day, and you'll be unforgettable, albeit not in a good way.
9. Take Really Long Lunch Breaks.
Lunchtime is for napping or making TikTok videos, not for discussing cases or learning from your preceptor. Take excessively long lunch breaks. Come back late again.
10. Constantly Complain.
Complain about everything - the workload, the hours, the patients, the drive, the coffee in the break room, and the fact that you have to wear pants. Your preceptor will surely admire your positivity.
11. Disdain Their Patient Population.
For your peds (or whatever) rotation, mention that you "hate peds and are only doing this rotation to check off the box.” This will really motivate your preceptor to teach you about his/her passion and profession!
Okay, we hope this is more funny than truthful to you! Obviously, it's crucial to maintain professionalism and respect when working with clinical preceptors and colleagues. Building a good relationship with your preceptor is essential for your education and future career, so be sure to demonstrate your dedication and commitment in a positive and respectful manner. Who knows, they might provide a good reference or be on the other side of the interview table someday.
Stay tuned! Next, we’ll flip this topic on its head and talk about things that Preceptors do that make life particularly hard on students!
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.
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