Todd Smith

Family Nurse Practitioner and longtime preceptor Todd Smith knows how important it is to guide students as they translate academic learning into clinical practice. 

He also knows how challenging it can be for busy professionals to carve out time, and how patients sometimes make that even more difficult.

“It can be hard to manage the expectations of patients,” Smith said. “They want good health care, but they’re not willing to participate in how we teach and train providers.”

In a new role as Nurse Practitioner Faculty in Residence at CHAS Health – a joint appointment with the WSU College of Nursing – part of Smith’s job will be to help smooth the way for other preceptors.

“I’ll be trying to teach models or ways of precepting to folks who are already practicing so they don’t get overwhelmed when they have a student come in,” he said.

One such model is called “the one-minute preceptor,” a method that has a preceptor help a student with their decision-making skills rather than simply answer questions, Smith said. “It’s like the Socratic method,” he said. “You’re asking questions to pull information out of the student.”

For example, if a student comes to the preceptor and presents a patient’s information, the preceptor might ask, “What do you think is going on?” The aim is to get the student to process the information he or she just collected.

Smith’s new role will be part faculty member, part primary care provider, and part preceptor liaison. Said Smith, “The idea is to try to start building some partnerships between the educational institution and the health-care delivery system in the community.”