Student spotlight: 5 tips to snag a preceptor for clinicals!

Happy Monday! Today is a post for students!

I’ve been watching the various avenues and techniques that midwifery students use to find clinical sites over the past 9 years. Some are successful while others are a big flop. I’ve noticed the same errors are made over and over, and while I’m not an expert by any means, I can tell you which post I’m going to respond to and why after about 5 seconds of reading a request for a site or a preceptor.

What makes such a big difference?

Read on for my tips.

1. Before you hit SEND, check your grammar, spelling, and spacing.

The misuse of apostrophes is a big red flag for me. Poor capitalization is another one. Or sloppy spacing. It’s important to proofread and read your request aloud before sending it to the masses. Lack of attention to detail in a mass request for preceptor or site can tell you a lot about someone – it can also make someone stop reading your request for a preceptor or a site!

2. State your needs clearly.

“I need a clinical placement for Spring 2022” is not as clear as “I need a clinical placement from January to May 2022.” From a preceptor point of view, I’m cross checking my current student requests with your needs. Specifics are everything. Additionally, what clinical area do you need hours in and what are your required hours – these specific answer questions for preceptors without having to follow up with a request for more information. Don’t get too hung up on the specific numbers – remember, we’ve been through midwifery school too. But a general idea of what you need is helpful.

Example: “I need a clinical placement from January to May 2022.”

Example: “I need labor and delivery experience and have a requirement of 40 births.”

Example: “I need 300 hours in an outpatient OB clinic.”

3. Clearly state where you are able to travel for clinicals.

State the location you would like to complete clinicals in and the radius you are willing to travel to. It’s much easier to say where you can go versus where you won’t. For example, my current hospital loves midwifery students, but we don’t have many people that want to come live in Alaska for 4-5 months.

Example: “I live in Panama City, FL but am willing to travel to Destin, FL.”

Example: “I am looking for clinical sites within 30 miles of Anchorage, Alaska.”

Example: “I live in Denver and am willing to travel within a 60 mile radius of the city.”

4. Give a little background.

Give 1 solid sentence about your experience. If you can’t do it in one sentence, keep working on it until you can.

Example: “I spent three years as a doula before completing nursing school and have worked on a low risk labor and delivery unit the past four years.”

Example: “I had my three children at home and have worked as a lactation consultant for five years.”

5. What else do we need to know?

What can you tell us that is a make it or break for you? Can you travel anywhere to complete your hours? Are you fluent in other languages? Are you in school part time or full time? Do you have a family with kids or are you single? If you travel, will you need housing?

Sample request

Here’s an example of a posting that would accomplish all five tips…

Hi! My name is Jamie and I am attending Frontier Nursing University for midwifery training. I am in need of a clinical site in Colorado Springs from August to December 2022. I will need inpatient and outpatient experience totaling 700 hours. I have worked on a high risk labor and delivery unit the past five years and am working on my lactation consultant certification.

I am willing to travel up to 60 miles from Colorado Springs for a clinical site but cannot travel out of the state due to family obligations.

Thank you in advance for considering my request. You may view my resume here: (insert your link to google docs or other site).

Warm regards,

Jamie, RNC-OB

Contact information: cell (970-999-9999) or email (

Other tips…

  • Make sure you email signature is up to date and consider listing your email or telephone number in your signature. The idea is to make it very easy for a preceptor to contact you. (Not sure how to list your credentials? Check out this FREE brochure: How to Display your Credentials?).
  • Include a direct link to your resume that doesn’t involve someone logging into another website. Ensure your resume is polished.
  • Look for preceptors early and often. In my past two hospitals, we had students lined up over a year out.

Know that preceptors like to precept students – but we are not always thinking about it. A helpful, clear request is the best first step towards helping you find a preceptor and a site. And sometimes, we know a few people who could help you out!

Hope these tips were helpful! What other tips have you all found are helpful?


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