Why Become a Preceptor? | Warren County Medical Society

by Rick Voakes, MD

Even though there is no monetary gain, as the name Volunteer Faculty or Gratis Faculty implies, there are many rewards for precepting. These rewards extend far beyond the list of "perks" offered by the medical school where you are based. The real rewards include a substantial list of dynamics that occur during a preceptorship, as listed below.

Learning from Teaching
Whenever you teach, you learn. The review process reinforces your previous knowledge, and fills in gaps of new information that is constantly being added to the medical knowledge base. When you teach medical skills and procedures, it sharpens your own skills. Also, students ask great questions, and we learn from finding the answers.

Improve your "Lifetime Learning"
When you teach a student to be a lifetime learner, you are forced to set a good example, thereby improving your own skills at lifetime learning. Hone your internet skills, and ability to find the information that is most useful. Students often help you improve these skills because they are usually quite good at it, and can show you many tricks about getting around on the internet. Students often fill you in about new medical knowledge that they have just learned in class, that didn't exist when you were in medical school.

Instill Professionalism in the Next Generation
You have the opportunity to influence medicine in the future. What you teach will help patients far into the future, even after you are gone. Sometimes the most important lessons are from secondary level teaching, such as learning processes, philosophies, and how to approach problems. Some examples are looking critically at the rationale for procedures and treatments, using the scientific method, attending to the needs of the patient, setting priorities, or even something as mundane as taking care of your own physical and mental health needs.

Self Esteem
During the clerkship, the student will learn much about your lifestyle, life approach, and priorities. You are being a role model, which actually does a lot for your self esteem. You also have the opportunity to help your student's self esteem by being a friend and mentor, encouraging them with positive feedback, building their skills, and coaching them through their weaknesses. There is also a feeling of pride to be counted on the faculty of our prestigious universities. 

Learn New Technology
Most of us have trouble keeping up with the latest computer technology, and students are usually quite fluent in that area. If we let them know that we want to learn from them, they are more than happy to share that knowledge.

Build Improved Relationships with the Universities
In working with students, we get a deeper insight into what is happening at the medical schools, what is being taught, what priorities are stressed, and who doctors and specialists are (and some insights about them as well). This will also build our referral resources for our own practices. 

Joy of Interacting with the "Medical Stars" of the Future
Most students are delightful people, and full of great potential to be the medical stars of the future. Just interacting with them is an inspiration, by sharing their enthusiasm, curiosity and the many individual qualities that each student brings. 

"I'm not a professional teacher!" 
 We all did some one-on-one teaching as residents, so we have considerable practice in doing that. Much of the teaching during a preceptorship is just doing what you always do, and being a role model. And there are some skills in teaching that you will pick up from experience, trial and error, and feedback from your students. 
An excellent workshop is offered by UK every year, which actually rewards you with free CME credits. A panel of students offers feedback and advice to preceptors about what their expectations and needs are. Training is also offered in how to grade students. Several inspirational lectures about personal experiences of practitioners will help you decide about becoming a preceptor if you are considering it.


Statement from University of Louisville

Gratis Faculty are a vital and integral part of the School of Medicine's educational mission. Our goals are to provide the preceptors with greater access to resources that will support their role as teachers, and to strengthen the communication between the School of Medicine and the community-based faculty.

Privileges of Gratis Faculty at University of Louisville

  • Library privileges at U of L and Metroversity Libraries
  • Opportunity to apply to Cardinal Club as faculty
  • Opportunity to purchase faculty parking permits
  • Use of the HSC Fitness Center
  • Use of the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center at faculty rate
  • University Club membership
  • Discounted tickets at Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium
  • Attend Primary Care Review at no cost
  • University of Louisville GroupWise email access
  • University of Louisville Online Remote Access Account

**all gratis faculty privileges are contingent on having a valid University of Louisville I.D. card. 

 Where Do I Sign Up?
Contact your local AHEC office (Veronica Drake), at 745-3325, to get your application process started.



© Rick Voakes 2021