Sign up to be a family medicine preceptor and teach the next generation

Tags: volunteer, education, family medicine, pre-clinical, preceptorship

Sign up to be a family medicine preceptor
and teach the next generation

posted 02.17.11

One proven way to encourage more medical students to pursue family medicine is to expose them to “real-life” practice early in their medical careers. In the state of Texas, they receive this exposure largely through the Texas Statewide Family Medicine Preceptorship Program. This program provides funding to first- and second-year medical students to spend up to four weeks in a family physician’s office experiencing his or her daily life and work.

Throughout the last few years, the number of participating preceptors accepting pre-clinical students has declined from 125 in 2006 to now approximately 100, according to program coordinator Rachel Dorn. Participating preceptors in rural communities are currently limited to just 22 locations. With more than 170 student applicants in 2009, TSFMPP is in dire need of more pre-clinical summer preceptors.

Pre-clinical students’ daily tasks during their preceptorship mostly include observation, taking patient histories, learning to formulate treatment plans, identifying early diagnoses for common disorders, and polishing presentation skills. Even with minimal responsibility, many cite their participation in the TSFMPP as a pivotal experience in their medical school career and one that leads them to choose family medicine as a career.

Family medicine preceptors receive support from the Faculty Development Center in Waco, which provides training workshops and clinical teaching resources for interested preceptors. Additionally, every preceptor receives outlined learning objectives for students, as well as an evaluation form that provides a way for both preceptors and students to give constructive feedback on the program and their experiences. TSFMPP preceptors are also eligible to submit teaching hours towards CME credit as recognized by AAFP.

To help meet the workforce needs in Texas, it is now more important than ever for family physicians to nurture and protect the special tradition of experienced physicians teaching future physicians, and sharing the unique qualities and values that define the profession.

Students are currently signing up for the summer pre-clinical program. Physicians interested in volunteering are encouraged to visit the website to learn more about program eligibility and to register as a preceptor. For program inquiries or questions on how to become a preceptor, contact Rachel Dorn at or (713) 500-7615, or visit the preceptorship online.