Physician Assistant Preceptors

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Northwestern College preceptor! Your contribution to the training of Northwestern College PA students will help them become exceptional medical providers. Below you will find information to assist in your role as a clinical preceptor. Program staff members are available to assist you and answer any questions you may have.  

Why precept?

Preceptors play an integral role in the education of PA students. Any board-certified physician (MD/DO) or PA can precept. The clinical instruction and mentoring you provide can encourage students to become valuable members of your provider team following graduation.

Make a lasting impact.

Beyond the many  benefits that Northwestern College provides its preceptors, the personal satisfaction of giving back to your profession and involvement in the development of a future healthcare provider can be incredibly rewarding. Preceptors are uniquely positioned to mentor students in developing strong leadership, consulting and communication abilities in addition to medical knowledge and skills. 

I believe the enjoyment of instructing, the intellectual challenge of staying current and helping to train the next generation of providers outweighs any burden it might cause.

Philip Van De Griend, MD, Orange City Area Health System

What do preceptors do?

The preceptor is an integral part of the teaching program. Preceptors will serve as role models for the student and, through guidance and teaching, will help students perfect skills in history taking, physical examination, effective communication, physical diagnosis, succinct recording and reporting, problem assessment, and plan development including a logical approach to further studies and therapy. 

Take the next step!

Contact us to become a preceptor 

Preceptor Responsibilities

Preceptor responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Orient students at the onset of the rotation with the practice/site policies and procedures and review the expectations and objectives for the rotation
  • Provide ongoing and timely feedback regarding clinical performance, knowledge base, and critical thinking skills.
  • Supervise, demonstrate, teach, and observe clinical activities in order to aid in the development of clinical skills and ensure proper patient care
  • Delegate to the student increasing levels of responsibility for clinical assessment and management as appropriate to the student’s experience and expertise
  • Complete and promptly return the evaluation forms provided by the program reflecting on student knowledge and skills as well as their improvement throughout the rotation
  • Promptly notify the PA program of any circumstances that might interfere with the accomplishment of the above goals or diminish the overall training experience
  • Maintain an ethical approach to the care of patients by serving as a role model for the student

Student Responsibilities

In addition to adhering to the standards of professional conduct outlined in the Clinical Handbook, students are expected to perform the following during their clinical rotations: 

  • Obtain detailed histories and conduct physical exams, develop a differential diagnosis, formulate an assessment and plan through discussion with the preceptor, give oral presentations, and document findings 
  • Perform and/or interpret common lab results and diagnostics
  • Educate and counsel patients across the lifespan regarding health-related issues
  • Attend clinical rotations as scheduled in addition to grand rounds, lectures, and conferences, if available to them
  • Demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, and flexibility during the clinical year
  • Track patient encounters and progress toward required experiences
  • Provide preceptor with the necessary paperwork
  • Maintain a professional presence in the clinic or hospital

Program Responsibilities

  • Facilitate the evaluation process for preceptors
  • Provide remediation, both academic and professional, to students in need
  • Address any concerns raised by students or preceptors
  • Conduct final evaluation of student skills for graduation

Become a preceptor

For more information about the preceptor role or how to become a preceptor, please contact Northwestern's PA Program Clinical Rotation Coordinator:

Lisa Whitmore
Clinical Site Recruitment Coordinator


The ARC-PA has granted   Accreditation-Provisional status to the   Northwestern College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by   Northwestern College

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA   Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the   Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.   Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at