Pay it Forward: Become a Preceptor

Touro Assistant Professor Issues Call for Health Care Providers to Take the Lead in Medical Education

February 28, 2024
An image shows a group of five medical students smiling and laughing as they pose for a group selfie. Medical students are the prime beneficiaries of working with preceptors, but the preceptors derive benefits as well. (iStock / Drazen Zigic)
Medical students are the prime beneficiaries of working with preceptors, but the preceptors derive benefits as well. (iStock / Drazen Zigic)

Anu Mathur, MS, PA-C, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Health Sciences and is Director of Curriculum Design at Touro University California.

As health care providers, we owe much of our success to the invaluable mentorship we received early in our careers.

It's the guidance of experienced preceptors that allowed us to spread our wings, gain confidence in our clinical decision-making, and ultimately become the skilled health care professionals we are today. Now, as we reflect on our journey, it is crucial that we recognize the growing need for DOs, MDs, PAs, and NPs to actively engage in the education of the next generation.

PA programs across California are facing a significant challenge – the shortage of dedicated and involved preceptors. These mentors play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our profession by imparting knowledge, sharing experiences, and fostering the development of future health care professionals. However, the demand for clinical placements far exceeds the supply of willing preceptors, creating a bottleneck in the education of aspiring health care professionals.

As health care providers, we thrived on a legacy of mentorship, and it's time for each one of us to pay it forward. Becoming a preceptor is not just a responsibility; it is an investment in the future of our profession and community. As practicing health care providers, we are uniquely positioned to provide real-world insights, clinical expertise, and a firsthand understanding of the challenges and triumphs that define our profession.

Benefits of Being a Preceptor

There are many benefits to serving as a preceptor.

Continuous Learning: Serving as a preceptor provides an opportunity for continuous learning. Engaging with students exposes us to the latest developments in medicine, medical technology, and evidence-based practices. Staying abreast of cutting-edge advancements enhances our own knowledge base and ensures that we remain at the forefront of our field.

Leadership Development: Precepting is not only a chance to share clinical expertise but also an avenue to demonstrate leadership outside the health care organization. By guiding and shaping the next generation of health care professionals, preceptors play a vital role in cultivating leadership qualities among aspiring health care providers, contributing to the overall strength and resilience of the healthcare workforce.

Professional Recognition: Many institutions recognize the vital role of preceptors in medical education and offer added benefits, such as titles as clinical adjunct professors. This recognition not only elevates the status of preceptors within their respective organizations but also contributes to the overall professional development and esteem of the entire medical community.

Access to Resources: Some institutions provide preceptors with access to vast online medical libraries, enabling them to stay informed about the latest research, guidelines, and educational materials. This access enhances preceptors' ability to provide comprehensive and up-to-date guidance to students, fostering a culture of excellence in education.

Continuing Medical Education (CME): Many preceptorship programs offer opportunities for preceptors to earn CME credits. This not only fulfills professional development requirements but also ensures that preceptors remain engaged with ongoing advancements in health care, ultimately benefiting both the preceptor and the students under their guidance.

Personal Fulfillment and Reduced Burnout: Actively participating in medical education can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. The opportunity to shape the next generation of medical providers can be a powerful antidote to burnout, offering a renewed enthusiasm for your profession as we witness the positive impact, we have on aspiring health care professionals.

Getting Started

If you are ready to take the leap and become a preceptor, getting started is simpler than you might think. Reach out to our Joint MSPAS/MPH program director Joy Moverley at or Director of Clinical Education Jennifer Pimentel at and express your interest in becoming a preceptor. Your wealth of experience is invaluable, and your commitment to shaping the future of our profession will be warmly welcomed.

In conclusion, the call to action is clear: DOs, MDs, PAs, and NPS, let's step up and become actively involved in medical education. By serving as dedicated preceptors, we not only honor the mentorship that shaped our own careers but also ensure the continued success and relevance of medical professionals. Together, let's invest in the future, inspire confidence, and empower the next generation of medical professionals to soar to new heights, all while finding personal fulfillment and contributing to the reduction of burnout in our ranks.