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Information for Current Preceptors

Best Practices for Preceptors in the Department of Family and Community Medicine

Thank You to Our Preceptors Heading link

The entire medical student education team here at the University of Illinois, at Chicago, Department of Family Medicine would like to thank you, the community physicians, office and residency personnel who help in teaching UIC College of Medicine students, who make this family medicine clerkship a wonderful experience.

We know that you are incredibly busy and pulled in many directions. Because we recognize the challenges, we want you to know that your efforts are appreciated. Because of you:

  • The students with whom you work are exposed to empathy in a way they have never seen.
  • They see continuity in a whole new light.
  • They realize the value of full spectrum primary care through the example that you set.

Preceptor Handbook Heading link

You should be very familiar with the student’s responsibilities for the M3 Clerkship. In order to help you, as a Preceptor, excel within your role, we offer the following guidance.

Follow these four guidelines

  1. Preceptors should emphasize the importance of and the approaches which facilitate patient-centered medicine.
  2. Preceptors should understand and actively support the principles of evidence-based medicine.
  3. Preceptors should relate the principles of behavioral medicine and how these principles affect their practice. Through exposure, students, will further appreciate how the principles of behavioral medicine apply to their everyday patient interactions.
  4. Preceptors are encouraged to role model how a physician can balance work and personal life. Students should understand how personal issues can affect his or her delivery of patient care. Students should be shown the positive aspects of life as a family physician.


You should employ feedback techniques to promote resident self-awareness and improvement.

Signing patient logs

Students are required to record the types of patients they see. Preceptors are to review the student’s list and sign their log sheet on a weekly basis.

Direct observation

Direct observation is a central tool in the ongoing evaluation of a student’s progress. Residents should be directly observed on a regular basis. The form, Modified Mini-CEX Learner Rating Instrument, available online, will give your student the opportunity to receive direct feedback from you through assessment ratings of History OR Physical OR both during patient interactions that you directly observe.

Midterm feedback

Students will prompt you to provide for them a midterm evaluation. This can be done online or on a hardcopy form. We encourage direct discussion with the students for this activity. Please fill this out and discuss your thoughts and possible concerns verbally with your students to allow them a chance to improve before the end of the rotation.

Final Evaluation

You are, as well, requested to complete a final evaluation. This can be done online or on a hardcopy form. We encourage direct discussion with the students for this activity, as well.

Completion of evaluations in a timely fashion is importnat. Please complete the evaluations in a timely manner. A delay in completion of the evaluations can delay the student’s grade which can affect their advancement in medical school and their timing of graduation.

Evaluations can be done on paper, if you prefer. For information please call Cheron Zei, our medical student education coordinator, at (312) 996-9116 or you can email her at

  1. Assure that there is always adequate faculty and support staff, including site director, to respond to the students’ needs.
  2. Communicate problems, issues or concerns to the Clerkship Director as soon as possible.
  3. Respond to identified problems and feedback.
  4. Provide a space for students to see patients, do procedures, do chart work, and consult reference material. This area may be shared with other doctors or staff and need not be exclusive to the student. It is important the student not feel he or she is imposing on others by using this space. The student will need to have high-speed internet access available for reference materials, communications and evaluation.
  5. Introduce the student to his/her colleagues and office staff and orient the resident to the medical and non-medical community.
  6. Make patients aware that the office is a teaching site and seeing students is usual. Patients should understand the rationale of having learners in the practice. All patients should be encouraged to interact with the student. Each teaching site must decide how to deal with patients who are uncomfortable having the student involved in their care.
  7. Provide accessible parking or be available by public transportation.
  8. Ensure that appropriate security systems are in place.

UIC DFM will coordinate all medical student activities and will provide opportunities for faculty development. In addition, a Clerkship Director and Associate Director will be available to respond to questions or concerns and provide guidance to the community preceptors.

Best Practices in Teaching Manual Heading link

This is a manual of best practices as it relates to the multiple components of interfacing with students in the role of a teaching clinician within the field of Family Medicine. Topics covered include:

  • Teaching in the Ambulatory Setting
  • Building Effective Lecture based Educational Sessions and Clerkship Selectives

This manual is meant to grow and adapt over time. Your feedback and input are greatly appreciated

Teaching in the Ambulatory Setting Heading link

Building Effective Lecture based Educational Sessions and Clerkship Electives Heading link