Effective Preceptors

Understanding the Purpose

As a Preceptor, your role is to mentor the athletic training students and supervise clinical application of their skills. They are not there to be your work force. It is important to remember that this is a learning opportunity for them.


  1. Engage your students and teach in different ways! Everyone learns differently.
    1. Visual learners -Demonstrate skills
    2. Auditory learners- Discuss information
    3. Reading/writing learners-Suggest reading materials (ie: Position statements)
    4. Kinesthetic learners- Allow hands on practice
  2. Delegate tasks to them
  3. Supervise student as he/she performs skills, but always be ready to intervene to protect the patient from harm if needed
  4. Constructively evaluate the student after the task is performed
  5. Be sure to discuss areas of improvement away from other students and athletes
  6. Encourage students to apply classroom instruction when making clinical decisions
  7. Make sure the ATS has clear understanding of expectations at the beginning and throughout clinical rotations
  8. The Preceptor must be seen as a professional supervisor by the ATSs. Any relationship beyond that is inappropriate.

The "One Minute Preceptor"

  1. Get a commitment:
    1. Ask an open ended question:
      1. "What do you think is happening here?"
  2. Probe for supporting evidence:
    1. Ask how they came to that conclusion
      1. S&S that led to that decision, why they r/o other
  3. Teach general rules:
    1. Find points that can be applied here and other situations
  4. Reinforce what was done correctly:
    1. Positive reinforcement will encourage them
  5. Correct mistakes

Qualities of a Good Mentor

  1. Represent yourself as a professional in the field
  2. Listen to the students
  3. Give timely feedback
  4. Be honest
  5. Be positive about the students and your job
  6. Care about your students
  7. Help students network and meet other professionals

Clinical Education Communication Section: Feedback/Evaluations

The next section of slides will provide information pertaining to; clinic education communication, Facilitating the CIP/Modules, Clinical Instruction, Professional Demeanor and Preceptor Feedback.

Clinical Education Communication

  1. Quality clinical education requires effective communication between Preceptors, ATSs and the ATP
  2. Establish ATS Responsibilities pertaining to the athletic training/sports medicine facility and at practice.
  3. Also include acceptable ATS responsibilities when traveling to away events.
  4. Preceptors must communicate with the Program Director and Clinical Education Coordinator regarding ATS progress towards clinical education goals at regularly scheduled intervals determined by the ATP.
    1. To ensure adequate instruction and evaluation, effective communication must exist between Preceptors and ATP administrators.
  5. Clinical education coordinator will have presence in the clinical settings via scheduled site visits

Clinical Module As A Preceptor

  1. If you are a Preceptor at our collegiate setting, you must utilize the Clinical Modules to test the knowledge and skill base of each ATS. Clinical Modules are assigned by semester. Modules are signed off by the Preceptor upon demonstration and questioning to then be turned in to the ATP.
  2. If you are a Preceptor at the High School, General Medical or Sports Medicine Clinic Setting, you can utilize the Clinical Module Check List provided to you by the ATP program annually. These modules pertain to the setting in which you are clinically educating the ATS. These modules will also be signed off by the Preceptor and turned into ATP.

Clinical Instruction as a Preceptor

  1. Preceptors must demonstrate a solid basis for clinical knowledge and skills that meet or exceed the athletic training clinical proficiencies/modules previously mentioned.
  2. Preceptors must be capable of instructing and evaluating the clinical proficiency/modules that are particular to their practice setting.
  3. Preceptors must read and understand the CIP/Modules prior to accepting an ATS. Any remediation or clarification in the clinical area must take place prior to the acceptance of an ATS for supervision.
  4. If a Preceptor is uncertain as to how to evaluate a clinical proficiency, the Program Director or Clinical Education Coordinator should be contacted prior to attempting the assessment.

Professional Demeanor as a Preceptor

  1. Preceptors must communicate with ATSs in a non-confrontational and positive manner.
  2. The Preceptor must remember that the ATS is a student and not an employee; accordingly, the ATS is developing skills and abilities.
  3. Positive constructive communication gives the ATSs a sense of their strengths and weaknesses as an AT.
    1. Negative, confrontational communication is not effective in promoting improved clinical performance.
  4. The students are there for educational purposes and to help provide healthcare with direct supervision. Make sure to follow the guidelines of ATS clinical hours and time off allotted. These are provided by the ATP program in this document. (See clinical hour guidelines)

Preceptor Feedback

  1. A Preceptor must be prepared to receive constructive input from the program director and clinical education coordinator as well as feedback from the ATSs.
  2. The purpose of this feedback is to assist the Preceptor in identifying their areas of strength and weakness in clinical education and supervision.
  3. There is a formal evaluation filled out on each Preceptor by the ATS at the clinical site each semester through Foliotek
  4. ATP will provide feedback for each Preceptor with regards to evaluations
  5. Each preceptor can access the feedback by logging into Foliotek