Preceptors (Trained versus Verified)

This article was published in the September 2016 newsletter by Doug Smith, CEO, Medical Educator

Preceptors play a critical role in the education and training of our students. From the hospital to the pre-hospital setting where students are provided with the opportunity to perform skills under the watchful eye of an experienced clinician where the patient is real and in need of the service. One of the major challenges that we all encounter is the willingness of preceptors to participate in any clinical tracking and training systems. It has also been apparent that students will sometimes falsify preceptor signatures and even identities.

According to CoAEMSP requirements, every Field Training preceptor must be trained to be a qualified preceptor. This typically involves general education principles such as: The Adult Learner, Communication and Feedback, Evaluation Principles, Documentation; as well as Specific School Preceptor Policies and School Philosophy. CoAEMSP also requires that any preceptor involved in the documentation of student clinical experiences be verified (authenticated) as a legitimate individual and not someone just created by the student.

We have had some indication that students have been falsifying preceptors in our system and that instructors have gone ahead and accepted the student experience without verifying (authenticating) these preceptors. As you can imagine, regulatory and accrediting agencies do not look favorably on these events. In an effort to prevent this from occurring, on or about September 30, 2016, no student clinical experience will be able to be approved without first verifying that the preceptor is indeed authentic and not a fictional creation. Instructors will be allowed to quickly verify the preceptor at the time of recording the experience with a quick verify tool. We have also modified our preceptor tables to indicate date of training for the preceptor as well as expiration date of training. Also, or or about September 30, when a student who is on a Field Internship attempts to assign a preceptor who is not on the trained list, the student will be notified as well as the instructor and preceptor. No documentation will be allowed to continue until the situation is remedied.

These changes are made to help everyone remain compliant. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at or call us at 616.818.7877!