Precepting the medical assistant practicum: expectations and rewards: an evaluation of preceptors' opinions

J Allied Health. 2011 Winter;40(4):212-5.


This study investigated the opinions of preceptors on select topics relevant to the benefits and rewards of precepting medical assisting (MA) students.

Methods: A 35-item questionnaire was distributed to volunteer MA preceptors over the course of 1 year. Survey items prompted participants for information concerning background and previous experiences with MA students, as well as gathered opinions on the benefits, issues, and rewards of preceptorships.

Results: Of the preceptors who gave evidence of their credentials, 98.43% were either practicing certified medical assistants (CMA-AAMA) or nurses. Respectively, 80.85% of CMAs and 80.00% of nurses felt that students provided the office with extra help and placed no financial burden on the practice. Approximately 44% ranked free continuing medical education (CME) credits as the most important reward. Written responses identified thank-you notes as an important demonstration of service, acknowledgment, and appreciation.

Conclusion: MA preceptors consider students a beneficial aspect of their practice because they lighten strenuous workloads and stimulate preceptors to remain current in their professional fields. Noncompensated MA preceptors value both extrinsic (e.g., free CME credits) and intrinsic rewards (e.g., feedback and thank-you cards) and suggested that intrinsic rewards were of greater value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Continuing / methods
  • Education, Continuing / standards
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Preceptorship* / standards
  • Reward
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce