Welcome to our leadership blog series! This month Katelyn Lieb, Chapter President of the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine, shares eight actionable steps you can take in order to get the most out of your preceptoring experience.
Preceptoring – How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience
Preceptor hours are required hours for all naturopathic medical students. It gives us the opportunity to learn outside of the structured school and clinic environment; exposing us to new professionals in our field with insights that we may not be able to gain in the classroom or clinic. Finding the right preceptor site can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially as a first and second year student when you have only a taste of what naturopathic medicine has to offer. This list will hopefully give you some guidance as you look for the perfect doctor to preceptor with.
1. Find doctors who treat what and how you want to treat. This will give you the exposure to what to expect after you graduate and allow you to pick their brain about a topic you are already interested in.
2. At the same time, be sure to find someone that practices in a way that would push you to expand your horizons. You may know you want to specialize in women’s health and hormones, but do not limit all of your hours to practitioners who specialize in this. Take the time to learn from other doctor’s as well. For example, an elder who can really drive home the point of working with the vis.
3. Find doctors who practice in different settings: private practice, cash based, insurance, an integrative center, with an MD in a pre-licensed state? They all will have different insights to give you and may help you decide what setting you want to practice in in the future.
4. Do they have a contract, are they on salary, do they have non-compete clauses? What do they charge for visits? How many employees do they have? Most of the time, doctors are willing to be frank with you about the ins and outs of the business side of running or working for a practice. This is invaluable information and helps to give you a real world view of what to expect when you start looking for jobs or starting up a new practice.
5. Figure out questions you want to ask ahead of time and be sure to bring them up at respectful times, like on lunch or coffee break, or when its relevant to the case they’re treating. If you have a lot of questions, it may be best to schedule a lunch or dinner with them to go over them all.
6. Write your own SOAP note as they speak to patients. How did their trail of thought differ from yours? Would you have asked the same follow up questions? After the visit be sure to ask what lead them to that diagnosis or treatment. This will allow them to speak from their own clinical perspective that may be different from what you’re exposed to in school.
7. Go! Even if you will not get hours. Are you interested in residency at their clinic? Do you love their textbook or social media presence? Go, even if you aren’t getting official hours for school.
8. Look at it as an opportunity to learn what you are not learning in clinic or in school. Do they do more testing than what you are exposed to in school? What do you wish we learned more about in school? Find preceptors who are doing just that.
Preceptoring is a part of the naturopathic tenant, Docere, doctor as teacher. It is a chance for doctors to give back to the field and educate new growing NDs. Be respectful of their time and the opportunity to learn from them. It may blossom into a mentorship or job offer in the future.
Author: Katelyn Lieb
Katelyn Lieb is a 4th year student at University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine, and is also receiving her Master’s in Nutrition at University of Bridgeport. She holds a Bachelor’s in Nutrition Science from Syracuse University. Katelyn previously served two years as the Integrative Medicine Chair and AANP Student Representative for her local NMSA chapter.
She is a Pathfinder Scholar, researching individualized and generative medicine under Dr. Peter D’Adamo. She is also the Communications Chair for her cohort, Class of 2020. Katelyn volunteers at the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians Annual Conference and assists in legislative efforts in New York and Connecticut. She is also involved in research at University of Bridgeport and hopes to be a part of the expansion of research in our field.
She is passionate about educating patients on nutrition and her goal is to expand the global and everyday understanding of naturopathic medicine. In her free time she enjoys yoga, cooking, snowboarding, and spending time by the ocean.