Community Preceptors Integral to Teaching Medical Students
|"As a preceptor, I have to stay current on new medical literature and therapies. Students challenge you and make you a better physician."
Marc Comianos, DO
Smith Clinic in Marion
Ohio State 2002 Preceptor of the Year
As medicine evolves, so too does medical education. In the last several years, the ways in which academic medical centers approached medical education has shifted. Advancements in technology and better understanding of medical conditions have given rise to more outpatient care and the need for more outpatient experiences for trainees at all levels. Thus, there has been a growing need for new clinical teaching venues. Community physicians have responded to the call for increased student exposure to patients in the outpatient setting by serving as preceptors. For Ohio State, their numbers have more than doubled in the past few years. Community preceptors have become partners with the faculty at OSU through their participation in required clerkships as well as in essential early clinical experiences.
What are the unique contributions made by community preceptors? Unlike most of their colleagues at OSU, community preceptors function as either solo practitioners or as members of independent group practices. Therefore, in addition to the provision of patient care, most are responsible for all aspects of managing a healthcare practice. Teaching is something these dedicated physicians have committed to integrating into their busy clinical practices. Rotating in these settings, students get a complete view of the type of practice they are likely to experience after residency training.
OSU students have worked with physicians in rural, urban, and suburban locations in more than 30 Ohio counties. Their patients have been men and women, children and adults, with a full range of common and complex conditions. With varied access to consulting physicians, students have experienced differing referral patterns than would be seen at the OSU Medical Center and the other large teaching hospitals in Columbus. Such experiences contribute immensely to students' on-campus rotations, adding a layer of learning that could not be accomplished without community preceptors.