Elements of Student/Preceptor Agreement



Future Midwives Alliance presents

Elements of a Preceptor-Student Agreement



We recommend that Preceptors and Student/Apprentice Midwives agree to a 30 day trial period at the onset of their relationship as Student and Preceptor.  It is crucial that the relationship works for both parties.  Both parties may sit down together to discuss specific agreements before working together and again at 30 days and so on as agreed upon (perhaps once a quarter), to evaluate if this relationship is working.  Are there areas of communication that need to improve? Are agreed upon arrangements being executed?  Do agreements need to change?  Is it a mutually beneficial relationship? Is it time to move on?

When a preceptor first sits down with a potential student to make agreements about working together consider offering her/him a packet.  We recommend having an agreement sample but working with your student to make it unique for her/his circumstances so that both parties are invested in the agreement to the fullest degree possible.

This preceptor-student agreement packet may include:
Practice Guidelines

Sample blank chart and complete client packet
Preceptor/Student Agreement
Sample agreement you have written up or used previously with another student.

In the Student-Preceptor Agreement we recommend including the following elements:

1. Introduction to your practice
A bit about your practice and philosophy.

2. Your objective in taking a student
Example: My objective for incorporating an apprentice into my practice is to help a student midwife become a midwife in every way. I want a student to leave my practice ready to practice. I want them to know how to both be a midwife and run a business. I want my apprentices to feel confident in their skills and experience. I believe in “a midwife for every woman” and know that we need more midwives.  I have a great desire to continue the tradition of the apprenticeship model of learning for midwives. I also have selfish reasons for wanting an apprentice like wanting company while I work, someone to process with and to share the workload at long births.

3. Acknowledgement of the challenges of both sides: precepting and learning
Both sides of this arrangement have their challenges.  Being open about them frees us to support eachother.

4. Requirements for student to be a part of the practice
Example

  • A watch with a second hand (with you at all times)
  • A pen and notepad (with you at all times)
  • Reliable transportation (available all the time)
  • Have a working cell phone, and possibly a pager, so that 24hr communication is possible
  • Access to an online/smart phone calendar (daily)
  • Be enrolled and active in a midwifery program
  • Maintain a current NRP certification
  • Maintain a current CPR certification (adults, children and infants)
Example:
I require my students to attend cultural competency/humility workshops.  My clientele base is quite diverse and this is an important part of working in my practice.

5. Scheduling commitment/expectations
Example:
I expect you to be available to attend a birth (you will be on-call from 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy for each client you commit to) within one hour of my call. I currently do all home visits in my practice. Though an office is conceivable in the future, I imagine I will always do a percentage of my visits in client’s homes.

Prenatal and postpartum appointment schedule
Whenever possible I schedule appointments during the times below. Day one postpartum visits and weight checks may happen with less notice and on any day/time. Births can cause a rescheduling of everything! Keep in mind that clients generally prefer beginning of day and end of day appointments to accommodate their work schedules.
Monday 11:30 to 6:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am to 6:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am to 6:00pm
Thursdays (see below)
Fridays (these are often reserved for midwifery community meetings) some appointments in the afternoons
6. Work Trade Agreement
Example:

  • Complete 2-4 hours of office work (entering MANA stats, filing, chart review, photocopying, general paperwork, ordering supplies, restocking birth bags etc) each week (currently Monday midday).
  • Attend monthly apprentice/preceptor meetings to discuss progress in apprenticeship, make plans and sign off on skills
  • For this amount of work I will trade my training you in hands on experience and didactic learning in my practice.

7. On call agreement
Example: I expect you to be available to attend a birth (you will be on-call from 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy for each client you commit to) within one hour of my call. I currently do all home visits in my practice. Though an office is conceivable in the future, I imagine I will always do a percentage of my visits in client’s homes.

8. Communication agreement
Example:

  • Don't take anything personally
  • Speak with integrity
  • Don't make assumptions
  • Always do your best

9. Preceptor responsibilities
Example:

  • Treat you respectfully
  • Honor you what you bring to the table (skills, life experiences etc)
  • Listen to what you say
  • Answer your questions
  • Teach you midwifery and business skills
  • Attend monthly apprentice/preceptor meetings to discuss progress in apprenticeship, make plans and sign off on skills
  • To be present with you at all appointments/births or anytime you are providing direct client care.

10. Trial Period and Periodic evaluation
Agree to meet after 30 day trial period and then periodically thereafter.  Discuss what is working, what isn’t working, any agreements that need to be amended.  Plans and objectives for next period of time, both clinically and academically.

11. Community Responsibilities/Scheduling expectations
Example:

  • Attend peer review with me (every other third Friday)
  • Attend certain events as agreed upon--local midwifery meetings
12. Time off agreement
Example:
I take off one month per year in the summer.  During this month please schedule a vacation for yourself.  While I expect you to commit to this practice you will not be penalized for sick leave for yourself or your children.

13. Other work agreement
Example: If you take doula clients during the on call dates for a midwifery client in my practice I expect you to make a reasonable effort to attend my clients birth, however if there is a conflict I support your need to support yourself financially.  I support you in attending your clients birth.  If this becomes a consistent conflict we will revisit our agreement.

14. Student Needs/ Limitations
Include in your agreement the days/times  when the student has other committments  and cannot attend appointments.  Include in this section the reasons you have agreed in advance that your student is excused from attendance and why.  For example, if her/his child is ill or he/she is sick.

15. Debrief time/Academic time
Delineate the amount of time and how often you will spend with your student debriefing births, learning new skills (outside of time with clients), grading academics (if that is your agreement), teaching academics (if that is your agreement), chart review, etc..  Consider scheduling this time at regular intervals.

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