Many NP students in the United States are asking themselves the big question: should I try to find a preceptor by myself, or should I search for an agency that can find a preceptor for me?
Many of these students have had some stressful experiences that have led them to seek other alternatives. For them, agencies like NPHub can be the difference between graduating on time and sitting out another semester.
The current preceptor shortage will not change anytime soon, unfortunately. There are still many limitations and roadblocks that keep students from finding the right preceptor.
Are you unsure about which option is best for you? Let’s talk about the pros and cons of preceptor matching agencies, vs the pros and cons of trying your luck and searching for a preceptor on your own.
Searching for a preceptor by yourself
For many NP students, this can seem like the only option. Not everybody has heard of (or can afford) agencies like NPHub, so this is where most NP students will start.
Even though it can be very hard to find an available preceptor in your area, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try (or that nobody should try, for that matter).
Going out there and looking for a preceptor does have its advantages. It’s up to you to decide if this is the better option for your current situation.
Access to NP communities and resources: Venturing out on your own will probably require you to sign up to some NP communities, like the AANP or the ENP Network. This can be very advantageous to your career in general. You might find more than just a preceptor.
Networking opportunities: Following up with that first point, going out on your own can result in many opportunities to build your professional network. You get to call and email a lot of people, and these contacts might come in handy later down the road.
However, you should note that you can do this and sign up to a preceptor matching service like NPHub. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, once you have a place to do your clinical rotations, you should look into these communities as well.
Investing less money: This is the main reason why NP students choose not to work with agencies like NPHub. Any membership fee for an NP community is going to cost you significantly less money than hiring a preceptor matching agency (but the cost of that is not knowing if you’re going to actually find a preceptor, which isn’t that way with the more expensive option: You will get a preceptor if you pay for NPHub’s preceptor placement services, or get your money back if the worst scenario plays out and we can’t find a preceptor for you on time).
You might spend up to $1,000 in various membership fees, but that’s about it. You should also consider that you can skip the fees altogether and start your search without spending any money at all. It’s harder, but it’s possible.
More competition for clinical placements: Since most students go out and try to find a site for their clinicals on their own, you’ll be competing against a lot more students like yourself. This can hinder your chances of actually getting a preceptor.
Limited options due to certain requirements: In order to find a preceptor on your own, you have to meet a certain criteria. Some preceptors won’t work with certain NP students. You have to find a preceptor that meets the requirements of your university, etcetera.
You have to do the paperwork yourself: Getting a preceptor is not as easy as sending an email. That’s only step one. Even if you find one that’s available for you, you will have to invest a lot of time to figure everything out. Which brings us to the last point…
You’ll need to spend a lot of time in your search: Most of our students reach out to us when they’re desperate. We have mentioned that in our blog articles time and time again. Due to the current inefficient system, students have to spend weeks, and even months, looking around.
This search can be (and usually is) detrimental to their mental health. It’s a lot of stress for them to have to invest so much time on it, and ultimately get rejected by many potential preceptors and clinical sites.
Hiring a preceptor matching agency (such as NPHub)
The other side of the coin is preceptor matching agencies.
Agencies like NPHub are very recent, stemming from a systematic lack of preceptor options around the United States.
There is competition among us. Some agencies are better than others, but we all have the same goal: fighting against the preceptor shortage and ensuring that NP students graduate on time and have a great, memorable experience with their rotations.
The paperwork is done for you: This is very important because it will save you a lot of time. Take NPHub as an example: we handle the entire process and all of the required paperwork.
With us, you only need to sign up, check for preceptor availability on our interactive preceptor map, and book a rotation. Our goal is to make the entire process stress-free. Our usual paperwork turnaround time is two weeks.
You’ll connect with a preceptor that’s right for you: Not every agency out there ensures this, so you should be careful. However, in the case of NPHub, our job is to make sure that you won’t get rejected by a potential preceptor.
We do this by helping you directly, and offering you other options tailored for you if your initial booking doesn’t work out.
Access to resources on how to look for preceptors on your own: We are interested in helping you, first and foremost. You don’t have to sign up to NPHub to get these resources. This blog and our free Facebook group are great examples.
We know the issues that NP students face, and part of our job is assisting you in your search, free of charge. We have guides, articles, and we’re very active on social media. On the Facebook group we just mentioned, we offer exclusive updates on preceptor availability and promo codes to book preceptors with us. If you want to have a window to new preceptor landing opportunities, it won’t hurt to join our group for free here.
Booking a rotation costs money: We appreciate the work that preceptors do, and we pay them for their services. We also have to keep our system running. That’s why we charge fees that some people might not be able to pay right away (or maybe at all). NP students have loans to pay for too, and for many of them, the service might not be financially affordable. We get that! Which is why we try to help as much as we can for free, and also have super convenient payment plans.
We always make sure that NP students are not paying for a service that they’re not going to get. We have a solid Refund Policy that’s there in order to protect your investment.
Couldn’t secure a preceptor through us? You get your money back, as simple as that.
There’s still a (small) chance it won’t work out: Sometimes this happens with students who are looking for last-minute placements, which is why we encourage everyone to start their search with enough time on their hands. Other times it just doesn’t work out in the end chemistry wise (the preceptor and the student don’t get along), or the preceptor backs out for some reason, but those are honestly very rare scenarios, we don’t see them often at all because we put all our efforts into matching the perfect student-preceptor pair so that everything runs smoothly!
We have a very high success rate, and again, our system is designed in a way that allows students the opportunity to book a rotation with only a few clicks. We are always looking to improve, and we check out every single review and suggestion that we get in order to keep growing and offering the best service we can offer!
A final word of advice
Don’t wait until the last minute to start your search for a preceptor. Look into your options, read some articles like this one, make some calls, send some emails, and get ready.
We’ll always be here for you if you need us. If you want to learn more about NPHub, and what we can do for you, go to our website. You can use the live chat feature in the bottom right corner to talk to a real, awesome human (one of our specialists) that will help you.
You can also call or text us at (678) 329-9029.
Follow us on social media and feel free to contact us for any questions and requests here:
Join our new Facebook group for FREE for exclusive updates on new preceptors and promo codes here: