Preceptors, & Student Concerns

Preceptors, & Student Concerns
written by T. Lescarbeau,
CST/CFA Educator


As an educator, my students frequently come to me with concerns about their preceptors. 

Many of the concerns relate to how they setup the tables and the "my way is the right way" mentality. 

Here are some things for students to keep in mind when working with a seasoned tech (preceptor): 

1) Always keep an open mind. 

You can always take something from that particular case you can later use, even from the most uncooperative preceptor. Things that may seem insignificant may help you. Try it on your own if it is appealing to you and it complies with standards and protocols. 

2) Different hospitals have different ways of doing things.

There's an old cliché..."there's more than one way to skin a cat." 
This is a fact! Talk to a traveling tech, let them share with you some experiences. 

As a student, especially if you have rotations at different hospitals, it is important to "fit in" to their techniques. At the same time, use what works for you. 

There are some key questions you must ask yourself when considering your style at a strange hospital: 

Is my setup neat and logical? 
Are the retractors in the same place?, Forceps?,  etc. 
Is it safe? 
Is it logical enough where the count can be performed accurately and efficiently? 
Does it comply with the principles of aseptic technique? 
If someone had to relieve you in a hurry, would they be able to function with minimal difficulty and interruption to the procedure? 

You must be able to answer these questions confidently wherever you scrub in any capacity, student or employee. 

3) Finally, be polite! 

If someone corrects your setup and you don't understand why, don't be defensive. 
Ask them to explain and look for the WIN-WIN situation. 

I always tell my students that if the response they give has substance and is logical, then you have just witnessed a great learning experience. 

If the response is simply an opinion, to me, that doesn't necessarily constitute a practice that must be followed. Some places are more rigid with their practices.

You must remember, you are a guest. If you like to put your feet on your coffee table at home, you certainly wouldn't go to someone else's house and put your feet on their table would you? Of course not. (Not unless it is a typical bachelor's pad, where it is probably a stack of milk crates!)

Keep this in mind when scrubbing in any hospital. It is their house & their rules!

I hope you will find these tips helpful when scrubbing. Good luck!


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