Shape the Future of Healthcare! Become a Practicum Preceptor

Practicum preceptors hold a crucial role in guiding and mentoring Bachelor of Science in Health Management (BSHM) or Master in Health Administration (MHA) students throughout their practicum journeys. As an experienced healthcare professional, you'll collaborate closely with faculty to oversee students, providing them with practical insights, real-world applications, and valuable feedback. Your role involves facilitating hands-on learning experiences to help students acquire essential skills, apply theoretical knowledge, and cultivate professional competencies. Moreover, you'll serve as a role model, instilling not only technical expertise but also ethical principles, interpersonal abilities, and problem-solving skills vital for success in healthcare administration. Your commitment to nurturing student development and ensuring a meaningful practicum encounter significantly contributes to shaping competent and self-assured professionals. We're actively seeking passionate individuals in health management, public health, senior living management, aging community services, or hospital administration who are eager to share their expertise and inspire the next generation of healthcare leaders.

How long is the practicum?
  • Students in the Bachelor of Science in Health Management must complete a 160-hour practicum which can be taken in the fall, spring, or summer, typically in their last semester in the program. This translates to roughly 10 hours per week during a 16-week semester and 20 hours per week during the 8-week summer semester.
  • Students in the Master's in Health Administration must complete a 160-200 hour practicum in the summer between their first and second year.
What is the education level of students taking the practicum.
  • BSHM students taking the practicum are at the end of their program and have taken the majority of their health management cirriculum. They may or may not have previous healthcare experience.
  • MHA students take the practicum in the summer between their first and second year. Students have completed the introductory courses in the program. They may or may not have previous work experience in healthcare. 
How does the program handle conflicts or challenges that may arise during the practicum?

The practicum coordinator will collect information from both the student and the practicum site. If an agreement cannot be reached by all parties involved, the student may be withdrawn from the practicum site and required to find a more suitable placement. If needed, disciplinary measures may be implemented.

What are the evaluation criteria for assessing student performance, and what role does the preceptor plan in this process?

Throughout the experience, the preceptor observes the student's progress, provides feedback, and assesses factors such as knowledge acquisition, skill development, and professional behavior. Collaborating with the practicum coordinator, the preceptor conducts both midterm and final evaluations, identifying strengths, areas for improvement, and adjusting learning goals as necessary. By actively engaging in the evaluation process, the preceptor ensures the student's growth, development, and achievement of program objectives.

What are the steps for becoming a preceptor?

To begin serving as a preceptor, the first step is to communicate with the Practicum Coordinators from the BSHM or the MHA program to get all your questions answered. After deciding to participate, an affiliation agreement between your organization and Wichita State University College of Health Professions must be signed and filed with both WSU and your organization. This ensures a smoother process for placing students at your organization.

Do I have to serve as a preceptor every semester?

No, serving as a preceptor every semester is not obligatory. Your involvement may vary based on factors such as your availability and workload. We acknowledge the flexibility of preceptors' commitments and appreciate your voluntary engagement. Therefore, it is not required to serve as a preceptor every semester. Your decision to participate depends on your availability and willingness to contribute.

What are the main responsibilities of a practicum preceptor?

Practicum preceptors have several key responsibilities, including supervising and guiding students during their practical training, providing constructive feedback, assessing student performance, facilitating hands-on learning experiences, and serving as mentors to help students navigate challenges and develop professional skills.

How can practicum preceptors ensure a successful practicum experience for students?

To ensure a successful practicum experience, practicum preceptors can establish clear learning objectives, communicate expectations effectively, provide ample opportunities for hands-on experience, offer regular feedback and guidance, create a supportive learning environment, and encourage reflection and self-assessment.

What qualities make an effective practicum preceptor?

Effective practicum preceptors possess strong communication skills, patience, adaptability, empathy, expertise in their field, a willingness to mentor and guide others, the ability to provide constructive feedback, and a commitment to fostering student learning and professional growth.

How should practicum preceptors handle challenges or conflicts that may arise during the practicum?

Practicum preceptors should address challenges or conflicts promptly and professionally by maintaining open lines of communication with students, listening to their concerns, providing guidance and support, mediating conflicts if necessary, and collaborating with academic institutions to resolve issues and ensure a positive learning experience for all parties involved.