Your clinical expereince and clinical preceptor can be one of the most important parts of your nurse practitioner program. You will learn more during your hands on clinical experience than you will in the classroom. Preceptorships are, however often a great source of frustration among students and must be considered even during the process of searching for a nurse practitioner program and applying to NP schools.
Some NP schools require that sudents find their own clinical preceptors. Unless you know a nurse practitioner or physician who is willing to train you, this can be very difficult. Many cities are saturated with nurse practitioner students and not all nurse practitioners are willing to host students creating a shortage of clinical preceptors. If you are unable to find someone to precept you, it can significantly delay your NP degree.
Some schools assign clinical preceptorships. If you do not have a preceptor in mind, these could be the best schools for you. Make sure your nurse practitioner schools of interest guarantee clinical site placements so that your degree is not put on hold. The 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs lists this information in each school profile to help you further identify nurse practitioner programs of interest. Good luck!
Any good tips for those who are unable to find a preceptor? Are you willing to precept an NP student? Please post in the comments section below.