Best Practices for Preceptors


Below are 10 categories of best practices that should performed by preceptors of Administrative Residents.


  • Provide a letter or email notice to staff, physicians and board members that the resident is joining the organization
  • Introduce the resident at every meeting for the first several months and request that the team members in your organization assist in the resident’s learning process. 


  • Allow easy access to your calendar
  • Invite the resident to attend any meetings on your calendar


  • Require the resident to shadow you in all meetings in order to gain insight into the complexity of the health care environment.
  • Require the resident to shadow you in order to understand the life of a busy executive with multiple priorities daily.
  • Take time to discuss the shadowing experience and how/why decisions were made.


  • Require the resident to complete department rotations by shadowing front line staff in the organization in order to understand the business aspect of each rotation. This would include spending at least a day with a physician, a nurse, other clinicians, a housekeeper, delivering trays with dietary, delivering supplies with materials management, etc.  These do not all have to be completed immediately but can be spread over the year. Rotations could also include all shifts and weekends.
  • Encourage the resident to be a mystery shopper early in the residency.
  • Consider arranging 1-week resident exchange programs with other departments or sites within your organization or with a separate organization to provide your resident with a variety of experiences.


  • Review the resident’s Professional Development Plan for opportunities to address learning needs.
  • Develop with the resident an Administrative Residency Plan that provides opportunities for learning.
  • Ensure understanding of the mission, vision, values, strategic plan and priorities the organization is facing.
  • Ensure understanding of the healthcare workforce and issues pertaining to recruitment and retention.

Meaningful Work

  • Allow the resident opportunities to participate in projects and analysis within your organization. While no job is too small, recognize these students have had two years of rigorous academic coursework and they possess knowledge and skills of an entry level healthcare manager. Give them opportunities to apply their didactic learning to real world issues.

Reflective Practice

  • Debrief the resident after meetings and professional encounters. Debriefing is an important aspect of adult learning and should be a priority. If you do not have time to debrief the resident, arrange for others to do so as necessary.  
  • Refer frequently to the Professional Development Plan and the Administrative Residency Plan.

Role Model

  • Constantly evaluate yourself as a role model. Serving as a preceptor can be a valuable experience in your quest for learning as well as your quest for teaching.

Open Door

  • Allow easy access while setting boundaries.
  • Encourage feedback or quick reports on projects.
  • Assist the resident with setting priorities, time management, follow-up, and attention to details.

Physician Relationships

  • Ensure understanding of the challenges facing physicians.
  • Ensure understanding of the value of positive physician relationships.