Every NP student knows how hard it is to find a preceptor, so today we’re looking into the great journey of getting out there and finding rotations by yourself. This article is for every NP student that might not know where (or how) to start asking people in their area.
We know that it can be stressful to think about going out there on your own. In fact, there’s a good chance that you came to this article after trying your luck with a few preceptors. You might be desperate, you might be tired, but this is not the end. We promise.
At NPHub, we’re always trying to help NP students find their ideal preceptors. It’s what we do best. If you don’t want to go through our system, that’s ok. We understand. There are a lot of opportunities out there, and our main mission is to help you find a preceptor, let it be through our service or on your own!
How do I find a nursing preceptor?
Nowadays you can find a preceptor using social media, joining different groups and institutions for nurses, or simply showing up to the clinical site. Sometimes one will lead to the other, so it is important to know where to start.
The first two social media outlets that you have to pay attention to are LinkedIn and Facebook. You will find lots of professionals and clinical sites there. Get ready to put your best foot forward and have your CV at hand.
Finding preceptors on Facebook
We always advise our students to take a look at Facebook Groups. You can find many relevant communities, like this one, who connect students with preceptors for free, by word of mouth.
The joy of Facebook Groups has to do with range. You can find groups in your area and you can join as many groups as you want. Remember to keep your privacy settings in mind: you can choose to show where you studied and where you have worked.
Sharing this information might help people in those groups identify a possible preceptor for you. You don’t have to share everything, of course. Just enough to keep the professional side of your life available for networking.
A little bit about “networking”
What exactly is networking? You might have heard this word a lot. Simply put, networking is the process of making personal and professional connections. Meeting people who might have something to offer you.
When you join a Facebook Group, be sure to make a post that outlines who you are an NP-to-be, what you’re looking to accomplish, and your references. Don’t just make a post that tells people you’re looking for a preceptor. Seize the opportunity to brag a little bit. Make it stand out!
Finding preceptors on LinkedIn
Now that you’re all set with Facebook, let’s talk about LinkedIn. This platform is the most important meeting place for every professional (in every career). Having a good LinkedIn profile will do wonders when it comes to jobs and educational opportunities.
There’s a lot that goes into having a great LinkedIn profile. You can put everything that’s on your CV into LinkedIn and make it look better. In fact, you should, because this social network has grown to become king when it comes to networking.
If you find a possible preceptor (or clinical site) that you want to contact, be sure to have your credentials next to your last name, a good profile picture (your face preferably, with a good, simple background), and your job experience detailed neatly on the fields below.
Take some time out of your day to look for preceptors. You can search for terms like APRN, NP, APP, or “preceptor,” and you can filter the results by area.
When you connect with a possible preceptor, be sure to send them a short message introducing yourself. First impressions matter!
Joining your state’s associations
Local groups and organizations for nurse practitioners can help you connect to even more preceptors in your area. You won’t have as much range as you do with Facebook and LinkedIn, but you can find someone to steer you in the right direction.
Let’s see an example: In Georgia, our home state, we have the United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia. They are on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can check out their resources and job postings and contact them to see if they can help you find a preceptor.
The ENP Network
You will find that most of these state associations are part of the ENP Network. We have talked about them before, and you should create a profile there too.
The ENP Network is another professional hub for NPs to stay updated on what’s happening in the world of advanced practice. Think of it as a very special club for nurse practitioners.
When you join the ENP Network you will be able to use their handy preceptor directory completely for free. However, you can also get a paid, 3-month “Access Pass” that allows you to see new preceptors in real time, message them, and view more information about them. It costs $90.
The ENP Network claims to have over 1,000 preceptors on their list, with new ones coming in constantly. You can access this list for free but $90 does seem like a good price for being able to contact them directly.
We can’t assure you that this source will be effective, but it’s worth a try!
The American Nurses Credentialing Center might help you find a preceptor if you studied at one of their approved schools. They have a database of preceptors for universities that are part of their Certification Eligibility Curriculum Review Program (CECRP).
As of July 27, their website showing the preceptor bank seems to be down. We will still include a link for it here. If you can’t access it in the near future go to the ANCC main website (linked above) and contact them for more information on finding a preceptor.
Contacting your State Board
You may also want to talk to somebody on your State Board of Nursing. They might be able to offer you some more information on where to find your preceptor. You have to use every resource at your disposal, and a short phone call is not going to hurt your chances.
If you’re asking yourself when to start, well, that’s easy, the answer is now! The coronavirus pandemic had made it even harder for NP students to find their preceptors. We have written lots of articles urging students to begin their search today, but we can only write so many.
These sites and organizations will definitely improve your chances of getting a clinical rotation, and if all your tries fail, we are always here for you.
We have to say that we also have our own preceptor bank and interactive map, which you can check out in real time. We handle your paperwork and everything related to setting up your rotation.
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