Introduction to the Clinical Precepting Structure
VCOM Clinical Preceptors are faculty members in the Department of Clinical Affairs. On each VCOM campus, the Department of Clinical Affairs is led by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and is supported by a number of both clinical and administrative faculty members. Clinical Chairs in each core discipline help ensure the provision of a high caliber clinical education and are involved in the development and delivery of curriculum in both the OMS1-2 and OMS 3-4 years. In order to ensure a high quality, standardized clinical rotation curriculum, the Associate Dean works with the Clinical Chairs to develop clerkship objectives, required textbooks, clinical cases to enhance student learning, supplemental instructional videos, an online syllabus and an end of rotation written exam. This standardized curriculum ensures that all students, regardless of the geographic location of their clinical rotation, will have completed the same clinical objectives and didactic lessons. Additional support for clinical education is provided at each site in the form of a Director of Student Medical Education and Site Coordinator. Each campus also employs a Director of 3rd year Clinical Rotations, a Director of 4th Year Clinical Rotations and a Clinical Assessment Coordinator.
The academic and administrative support provided by the Department of Clinical Affairs, coupled with a well-established didactic curriculum including objectives, reading assignments, online cases and standardized end of rotation exams, ensures that all precepting clinical faculty are free to focus on bedside clinical teaching rather than having to develop an individual curriculum or didactic components at their clinical site.
The Discipline Chairs in the Department of Clinical Affairs monitor the variety of cases the students are participating in through patient encounter and clinical procedure logs. The Discipline Chair will meet with their department core clinical faculty annually to provide them with student feedback as well as to provide the clinical faculty member the opportunity to make suggestions to improve the curriculum, the rotation experience and the preparedness of students as a whole. Clinical faculty complete student evaluations at the end of each rotation period which are made simple through a standardized evaluation form that evaluates students on very specific components in areas of required core competencies. These forms can be completed on line to make the process even easier for faculty.
Benefits of Becoming a VCOM Clinical Faculty Member
In addition to the intrinsic rewards that come with medical student precepting, members of VCOM clinical faculty receive numerous additional benefits. All VCOM clinical faculty receive an academic appointment with the College at an academic rank commensurate with experience, access to the VCOM electronic library which enables them to access a wide range of medical textbooks and thousands of online journals from home, office or anywhere with an internet connection, and a monetary stipend for precepting VCOM students on required clinical rotations (paid to you directly or through the medical education department of your hospital). VCOM Chairs will provide individual faculty development on campus, on line, and in your site each year that you may take advantage of. CME opportunities exist each fall on the VCOM campus and you will receive CME credit for precepting students as well.
VCOM Preceptors for core rotations are appointed as Clinical Track Faculty. Clinical track faculty status may be granted to faculty who hold academic rank, as determined by the Appointment, Promotions and Tenure Committee, and are contracted to further VCOM’s academic mission through teaching limited to the clinical setting and with less than ten hours of didactic teaching time dedicated to VCOM’s education program. All clinical track faculty are considered part-time as the majority of their clinical practice teaching is in a setting that is not operated by VCOM or the academic health center.
Temporary Appointment Status
Physicians/professionals who are seeking appointment in the clinical faculty, or Veterans Administration and military or OMNEE categories, may be issued a temporary faculty appointment by the appropriate Associate Dean for Clinical Affair for up to six months while they complete the application process. However, prior to being given this temporary status, an affiliation agreement must have been signed with the institution in which the physician/professional practices, or with the individual physician, and a valid license must be confirmed. This temporary status allows the applicant to precept students while awaiting the completion of the appointment process.
Appointed clinical faculty must complete a reappointment process every 5 years. During the reappointment process preceptors must provide a current CV, updated board certification if applicable and their license will be verified through the appropriate state licensing body.