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STFM Takes Lead on Efforts to Expand the Number of High-Quality Preceptors

December 15, 2016—The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), with the input of stakeholders from multiple primary care disciplines, has created an action plan to: 1) decrease the percentage of primary care clerkship directors who report difficulty finding clinical preceptor sites and 2) increase the percentage of students completing clerkships at high-functioning sites.

The Primary Care Preceptor Action Plan was informed by a Summit held in August 2016 to identify the most significant reasons for the shortage of community preceptors and to shape the priorities, leadership, and investments needed to ensure the ongoing education of the primary care workforce.

“We have to educate students in high-performing, high-quality clinics if we hope to recruit them into our discipline.  And there is a fair amount of national data saying that we’re facing a shortage of preceptors,“ says Beat Steiner, MD, MPH,  who chaired the Summit. “We have these very gifted, talented students who really want to make a contribution, who are somehow being labeled as a drag on a clinic’s productivity.  We need to implement a variety of strategies to make student contribution not a hassle, but a benefit to preceptors and clinics.”

The action plan will use the following five tactics to meet its aims:

  1. Work with CMS to revise student documentation guidelines.
  2. Integrate interprofessional/interdisciplinary education into clinical clerkships and integrate students into the work of ambulatory primary care settings in useful and authentic ways.
  3. Develop a standardized onboarding process for students.
  4. Develop educational collaboratives across departments, specialties, and institutions to improve administrative efficiencies.
  5. Promote productivity incentive plans that include teaching; develop metrics to define and support high-quality teaching practices; develop a culture of teaching in clinical settings; and incentivize teaching through Continuing Certification.

An Interprofessional Preceptor Expansion Oversight Committee will meet in spring of 2017 to develop strategies for each tactic in the plan. By the end of 2017, the committee will meet a second time to determine next steps and to create project teams to implement each tactic. STFM is currently accepting applications for Project Team Leaders who will serve on the Preceptor Expansion Oversight Committee. Project Team Leaders will be assigned one of the tactics in the Action Plan and lead the development of strategies, budgets, timeframes, and measures for that tactic.

Read the Primary Care Preceptor Expansion Action Plan (PDF). If you have questions about the Action Plan or want to get further involved, contact Mary Theobald. 

Copyright 2018 by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine