How to Train Your PreceptorBy Rachael Rosen

July 2, 2014

How to Train Your PreceptorIn order to meet the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) standard III.B.1., paramedic programs must train their preceptors. Since this requirement is part of a long list of things paramedic program directors must do, I thought I’d help you out by pointing you toward some excellent resources available on the web.

1.  For starters, here’s the actual language from the CoAEMSP Interpretations document that breaks down and explains the preceptor training requirement.

CoAEMSP Interpretations of the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines For the Accreditation of Educational Programs in the EMS Professions

1) As part of the administration, organization, and supervision of the program, the Program Director must ensure that there is preceptor orientation/training.

The training/orientation must include the following topics:
• Purposes of the student rotation (minimum competencies, skills, and behaviors)
• Evaluation tools used by the program
• Criteria of evaluation for grading students
• Contact information for the program

The training media may take many forms: written documents, formal course, power point presentation, video, on-line, or there could be designated trainers on-site that the program relies on. The program should tailor the method of delivery to the type of rotation (e.g. hospital, physician office, field).
The program must demonstrate that each field internship preceptor has completed the training. For example, there may be an online session documenting completion by the preceptor, or there may be a written packet provided by the program, which is read and signed by the preceptor at the start of the rotation, or a representative of the program may meet briefly with the potential preceptors at that location.

For field internship experiences, the program should focus on the evaluation of the experience, but that evaluation must include an evaluation of each active field internship preceptor.

There must be an orientation offered for at least key hospital and other clinical experience personnel. The program can then arrange to have those key personnel provide guidance to other hospital preceptors, if needed.

For clinical experiences, the program should focus on the evaluation of the experience, but that evaluation must include at least an overall, not necessarily individual, evaluation of the preceptors.

The program must provide evidence of the completion of the training of field internship preceptors by dated rosters of participants, on-line logs, signed acknowledgement by the field internship preceptor.

2.  The CoAEMSP’s Paramedic Preceptor Training FAQs tell you just about everything you need to know to meet their preceptor training requirement. And it’s kind of a good read. Dr. George Hatch, Executive Director of the CoAEMSP, has a good sense of humor and some of his responses to the questions are lighthearted and funny. For example:

Q: What if a service does not want to participate in this training due to so many programs in a location (e.g. Houston area)?
A: Get George to tell them they have to. (LOL) I wish it was that easy. The issue will require a great deal of discussion and being connected (that’s called politics…) to perhaps accomplish the mission. Ultimately, Paramedic educational programs are dependent on their internship sites to accomplish their goals.

This response shows that the CoAEMSP is sensible about some of the challenges regarding training every single preceptor. Their hope is that paramedic programs take the challenge seriously and aim to satisfy the requirement as best they can with what they can control.

This FAQ document is 9 pages and a wealth of information that goes into great detail, not only about preceptor responsibilities and training, but also student evaluations and field internships.

3. The blog has a lot of interesting tips and anecdotes for preceptors. The blog covers a lot of ground and includes posts such as, “Dos and Don’ts,” Learning EKGs takes time,“ and “Before You Give Up.” The blog’s author has a really good message about taking shared responsibility for teaching and inspiring future generations of EMTs and paramedics.

This would be a great resource to share with new preceptors or ones who need a good reminder about what an important role they play.

4.  A few research projects that were first started at the Fisdap Research Summit have looked at the relationships between students and preceptors. In 2006, David Page won an award for Best Research Presentation at the NAEMSE Symposium for his research abstract, A chance to lead: Does having fewer paramedic preceptors result in more student leadership?  More recently, in 2013, Todd Cage led a study titled Fewer Preceptors Leads to Faster Attainment of Team Leadership Competency During Paramedic Student Internships.  Both research projects discovered that students reached team leadership competency faster when paired with the same preceptor for the majority of the internship.

5.  Finally, use google! I won’t endorse just one site, but you can easily search for “paramedic preceptor training” and find lots of examples of how other programs are approaching preceptor training--from powerpoint training presentations to formal policies and handbooks.


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