Why Precept? 11 Reasons

Here’s a list of a few of the rewards you’ll receive when you invite a medical student into your office.

1. Updated Clinical Knowledge

Joseph Joubert said "To teach is to learn twice."1 You’ll find that you’re learning along with your students as you update your knowledge about trends in medicine and updated clinical practice guidelines.

2. Recruitment Opportunities

Developing good working relationships with students may pay off when it’s time to add physicians to your practice team.

3. Better Patient Education

Medical students are enthusiastic experts who can educate your patients about health conditions and treatment. This will free up you and your colleagues to spend more time on complex cases.

4. Reduced Workload

Share the work. Students can take patient histories, perform basic tests, and give immunizations. They can also help with non-clinical tasks, such as filling out lab requests, coordinating referrals, updating problem lists, and making calls to patients.

5. Research Support

Most medical students are very tech-savvy and can quickly and efficiently research and download information on topics of interest to you. They can also perform EHR queries to use in patient outreach and performance improvement.

6. An Energized Practice Environment

Precepting is a rewarding experience that adds a new level of excitement to everyday patient care. Your students will be excited to perform tasks that may be mundane to you and your colleagues. You’ll find that their enthusiasm for patient care is contagious.

7. Enhanced Credentials

Teaching requires its own set of skills. For example, you’ll become adept at helping learners develop goals and expectations, and you’ll learn what to say to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You’ll also develop new strategies for providing constructive feedback, which will benefit your entire practice team. Most medical schools provide faculty development programming to help you develop your teaching skills. These programs are free and CME credit is often given. Additionally, many medical schools offer clinical faculty status to their preceptors.

8. Opportunities for Staff

Precepting gives everyone in your office an opportunity to teach. Students need practice management experience as well as clinical skills, so you’ll want to make sure they spend time working with your scheduling, billing, and management staff, as well as with your nurses and PAs. Your staff can be a vital part of the "teaching team."

9. Appreciation From Your Community

Your patients will appreciate your efforts to ensure that the next generation of doctors is prepared to care for the families in your community. Many medical clerkships require students to complete a community health project. Encourage those you precept to work within your community to educate, increase awareness, and promote healthy behaviors.

10. A Change of Pace

Many physicians begin precepting because they feel as though their days have become routine, and they want to add some variety. Precepting can help re-focus your energy and renew your excitement for patient care.2

11. A Chance to Give Back

Precepting gives you the opportunity to give make a contribution to the next generation of doctors, just as a doctor once did for you.2

  1. Joubert J. The Notebooks Of Joseph Joubert. Auster P trans-ed. New York: New York Review; 2005.
  2. Suzewits J. Precepting: Help Yourself While Helping Students. Fam Pract Manag. 2002 Feb;9(2):68. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2002/0200/p68.html. Accessed March 10, 2016.