Clinical training is essential for nurse practitioner preparation and preceptors are a vital part of that training process. Without preceptors, nurse practitioner students would miss out on invaluable clinical training and skill development.
Most nurse practitioners are clinically trained under the supervision of a volunteer preceptor. In some instances, nurse practitioners who trained under a volunteer preceptor “pay it forward” by becoming volunteer preceptors themselves. However, many issues have developed in the clinical training system for nurse practitioners. Most of those problems have been largely related to the reliance of today’s volunteer nurse practitioner preceptors.
Some of those in the industry believe that compensating preceptors would resolve much of the issues reported with the current system. Others believe that paying preceptors would create more problems than they would solve. Today, we’re presenting arguments for both sides of the debate.
Why Preceptors Should Be Compensated
Primary care provider shortages have caused increased demands on current providers. As a result, many health care organizations have increased productivity requirements for providers in order to mitigate the provider shortage. Along with this, the increased need for preceptors from academic institutions is also overwhelming clinicians for their time.
Proponents of compensating preceptors believe that providing payment would help alleviate the challenge of meeting productivity standards. The pay for precepting covers the loss of workload productivity payment by a healthcare organization. Proponents also say that providers who are compensated have a higher satisfaction as a preceptor. Compensation also recognizes the value of the essential service of the clinicians and it provides pay for their time, knowledge, and skill.
The Case Against CompensationOpponents of compensation believe that payment will further increase an already burdening challenge for schools and nurse practitioner students to find preceptors. To meet the demands, some preceptors have begun charging for their services. A 2016 blog post written by Patrice Brown in the blog “Minority Nurse” alleges the prices for preceptors begin at $200 per week per student.
Paying preceptors may also develop unintended consequences. Companies that broker clinical placements by charging nurse practitioner students and programs have increased in number. This may not seem like a bad idea but opponents question if these companies are helping students and programs or taking advantage of them. There is also the question of who oversees quality assurances for these companies. Without oversight, these companies can set their own standards and regulations which could be disadvantageous for customers.
Compensation may also force smaller schools into a bidding war with larger, well-financed schools. Small schools may lose long-term preceptors as a result. Opponents of compensation believe the cost of preceptor pay ultimately falls on the student. This can disrupt student diversity by narrowing who can afford to complete the program.
Though opponents of paying preceptors bring up valid concerns, many of these points like the need for an oversight committee can be remedied. Paid preceptors are more likely to be reliable and provide a higher quality of training for students.
Quality, value, and education are our top priorities at PreceptorLink. We were founded and are operated by a nurse practitioner who understands the needs of students and the demands of practicing clinicians. Whether you are a student seeking placement or a clinician who is ready to be rewarded for their time, skills, and knowledge, PreceptorLink is here for you.
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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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