contact with perceptors

Student Packet: Your First Contact with Your Preceptor

Call your preceptor as soon as you learn of your placement site. If you are not able to reach the preceptor directly, explain to the clinic staff who you are and arrange an actual appointment time to telephone your preceptor. If it is on their calendar and your calendar, it will alleviate the telephone tag syndrome we have run into in the past. When you arrange this time, do not forget it! It is very difficult to reach the physicians in their clinics, so be sure to follow through. You will want to introduce yourself and find out a bit about your preceptor and the community in which he or she practices. The initial contact is a good time to set the tone for your work together. Tell your preceptor about your background, including any special prior experience you may have. It is important to clarify with your preceptor any major interests you have for the preceptorship. Be sure to include the courses you have taken in medical school. The following list of topics and questions is designed to help you cover the areas we think are important prior to your arrival at your preceptorship. These can be answered over the phone and perhaps with an additional orientation meeting a day or so prior to beginning the preceptorship.


  • Where are you from? We encourage you to discuss your cultural and ethnic heritage.
  • Share why you are participating in the General Pediatric Preceptorship Program.
  • Relate your career aspirations.
  • Describe relevant experience you have had.
  • Relate special interests you have.
  • If applicable, describe your family situation, unique needs.


  • What is the practice like?
  • What are the preceptor's expectations for the experience?
  • What are the important things to know about the practice and the community before arriving?


  • Where and at what time should you meet upon arrival? Ask the preceptor if you can meet early or the day before you are to begin.
  • Obtain information on transportation requirements of community (i.e., Will it be necessary to have your car or bike at the site?)
  • What are general office hours?
  • When are hospital rounds? (And can you go?)
  • When are hospital Grand Rounds?
  • What is the office/hospital dress code? Should you have a white coat?
  • How will the preceptor introduce you to staff? (Send your preceptor a photo and a paragraph of background about yourself and your interests. (S)he may want to share it with staff and post it for patients to see.)

You are responsible for completing any paperwork necessary to receive academic credit for this program. Please contact your registrar’s office for information.

If your plans change or if you find you are unable to do the preceptorship, please notify your school’s coordinator and our office right away.

Source: University of Washington R/UOP Manual, The Montana Area Health Education Center