Clinical Faculty and NP Clinical Evaluators

Once a student’s clinical site and preceptor is identified, the student will be assigned to be supervised by a College of Nursing faculty member or community-based Nurse Practitioner who is hired by WSU to be a Clinical Evaluator. This individual will evaluate clinical/practicum performance in the clinical setting. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with this person BEFORE beginning any clinical experience and periodically through the semester.

Early in the semester, students will receive information about and contact information for this individual. Students cannot begin any clinical experience until they have received permission from the clinical evaluator via email to do so.

Students must provide their clinical faculty evaluator contact information for all preceptor(s) and the location of their practice. Failure to obtain permission before starting in the practicum/clinical setting may result in the assignment of a failing grade for the practicum/clinical experience.

If a student begins clinical without permission of the faculty evaluator, current clinical passport or malpractice insurance, their clinical hours will not count and will need to be repeated. When a student contacts the clinical evaluator to provide site and preceptor information, it is also important to describe anticipated goals to be achieved in the site (e.g., improve pediatric assessments, obtain additional experience in women’s health). These are important to share with preceptors as well so they can provide additional experiences with the student’s goals in mind.

Students are also responsible to contact their clinical faculty and placement coordinator if there are any changes to their rotation (clinical site, preceptor, going to a secondary site, etc.) CPC’s and clinical faculty must be notified BEFORE doing a clinical day at any clinical site that was not originally assigned, to ensure contracts and any onboarding requirements have been completed.

Please note: Clinical Evaluator Faculty members at WSU are nurse practitioners who take time away from their practices and their families to assist students in achieving your educational goals and objectives. They are not available at all times to visit students in the clinical setting because they have professional and personal responsibilities.

Please work with them and your preceptor to develop a mutually agreeable schedule for site visits, which may include days or times students are not typically scheduled for clinical. It is the student’s responsibility to meet the needs of the clinical evaluator and preceptor schedule.

Collaboration with Faculty on Problem/Conflict Management

When a conflict or problem related to the student’s performance identified, the preceptor should collaborate with the clinical-evaluator faculty so that the proper procedure for management and resolution of the conflict or problem is followed. The Clinical Evaluator will confer with the course faculty as well, if needed the course faculty will confer with the Clinical Track Coordinator for additional guidance. Typically, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) will be documented.

Preceptors for NP Students

Any licensed healthcare provider (MD, DO, ARNP/APRN excluding CRNA and nurse midwives) who has been practicing in their field for at least two years and has a current, unencumbered professional license may serve as the preceptor for a Nurse Practitioner student. All preceptors need to be assessed for active unencumbered license etc. This process is addressed by the Clinical Placement Coordinator for the respective campuses.

Clinicians/preceptors who have an encumbered license are reviewed and approved by the Director of the MN or DNP Program. Nurse practitioners who are enrolled in an NP program or in WSU’s DNP program may not serve as preceptors for other WSU DNP students. Washington’s Administrative Code (WAC 246-804-533) provides specific guidance to students and programs on who is an eligible preceptor or agency mentor. Specifically, preceptors may not be a family member or personal friend.

Students sometimes have professional contacts who have informally offered to be a preceptor. It is appropriate to name these individuals on the site request form to the Clinical Placement Coordinator. The Clinical Placement Coordinator will follow up with the requested agency to inquire about that individual’s availability to serve in a preceptor role and will check on the potential preceptor’s qualifications to serve as a preceptor.

Note: there have been times when the provider offering to precept is not allowed to do so due to factors within their agency, they were unaware of, these informal agreements should never be considered confirmed until all formal communications with WSU are completed. Once confirmed, an email letter will be sent to the potential preceptor explaining the course requirements (course outcomes, clinical hours sought and procedures) and request the preceptor respond with their interest in hosting a student. It also provides information about how the preceptor can contact the course instructor and clinical evaluator.

The Preceptor Role in Directly Supervising the NP Student in Direct Care Clinicals

Clinical experiences are an essential component of the education of FNP/PMHNP students, and preceptors and clinical faculty play an indispensable role in the success of these experiences. Clinical instruction necessitates both supervisory and evaluative activities. Preceptors provide direct clinical supervision, while the clinical evaluator is the supervising faculty who provides direct and/or indirect clinical supervision. NP students are expected to participate in hands-on care, extended or solely shadowing experiences is not permitted for the 500 supervised clinical hours required for certification as an NP.

In some instances, students may be in settings where shadowing is the only option (i.e., many orthopedic settings) and this could be approved for hours beyond the 500-minimum required if a student already has the necessary breadth of primary care clinical experiences. Direct (faculty) supervision occurs when a faculty member or NP hired by WSU is present at the clinical site and is supervising the student in that setting (role of the “Clinical Evaluator”).

Indirect (faculty) supervision occurs when a clinical preceptor is supervising the student while the faculty member retains responsibility for the overall clinical components of the course. As an indirect clinical supervisor, the faculty provides oversight of the clinical learning experience and acts, on behalf of the CON, as a liaison to the clinical site.

Questions about these roles should be directed at the course faculty or the Clinical Track Coordinator for the FNP or PMHNP program, or DNP or MN Program Director.

Policy TitleClinical Faculty & NP Clinical Evaluators
Policy Inception Date06/2022
Policy Applicable PartyCollege of Nursing Graduate Students
Date of Last Change06/2022
Responsible Party, Level I (to create and review)Center for Student Excellence
Responsible Party, Level II (to approve)CON Faculty & DNP Program Director
Responsible Party, Level III (to implement)Center for Student Excellence