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Becoming a Clerkship and/or Undergraduate Supervisor

FM Undergrad Program: Guidelines for Selection of Clerkship Supervisors


Clerkship Supervisor practices are where clerks will be placed for six weeks.  It is important to select supervisors and practice settings providing excellent role models with the necessary educational exposures.  The CFPC ‘Medical Home’ serves as our model practice outline.  It is understood that ‘no practice is perfect’ but we hope to identify practices that share this philosophy, and are committed to the ongoing process of review and improvement.  Where educational gaps arise, it is expected that preceptors are committed to assist learners in achieving the necessary exposure.


Practice Selection Criteria

Based on the CFPC Medical Home model, the key features to consider when considering a preceptor practice includes the following:

Practice Feature Program Standard
Personal Family Physician Provision of coordinated and comprehensive care across life span to an identified population of patients. Ideally, a patient roster is in place as evidence of a commitment to this model of practice.
Patient Centred Embraces a patient-centred philosophy of care manifesting in practice as a commitment to patients and families as active participants in their care, access to medical records, patient education and self-management approaches, and active attempts to receive patient feedback.
Comprehensive Care Comprehensiveness is a practice-based concept and is described according to four domains:

·        Care of patients across the life cycle (maternal/newborn, child and adolescent, adult, elderly, palliative)

·        Care across clinical settings (office, home)

·        Spectrum of clinical responsibilities

·        Care of marginalized/disadvantaged patients

Team-Based If possible, the practice supports a collaborative care approach to care and the learner will have an opportunity to practice in an inter-professional environment in the office and/or community setting.
Access Preference will be given to practices that model accessible care, including after-hours coverage and has a strategy for access to same-day appointments with the patient’s personal family physician or other appropriate team members.  Practice size should be appropriate to ensure timely access to appointments and safe, high-quality care for each patient and the practice population being served.
Continuity Learners are able to follow a group of same patients over time whenever possible and the practice is committed/able to support their continuous involvement.
EMR and Health Information An electronic medical records (EMR) is in use if possible.  If not, exposure to an EMR will need to be found.
Evaluation The practice conducts ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of its services as part of its commitment to continuous quality improvement (CQI) either informally or formally.

Preceptor Selection Criteria

To be considered for the role of Clerkship Supervisor, the following must apply:

  • Is a certificant of the College of Family Physicians holding an active membership (CCFP)
  • Has, or is eligible and willing to obtain a McMaster University faculty appointment
  • In practice for at least 1  year unless functioning as a co-preceptor with experienced faculty
  • has some experience as a clinical teacher, (most commonly through taking pre-clerkship or elective learners with strong student evaluations (or at the discretion of the Program Director or Campus Dean)
  • Willing and able to attend  faculty development activities

Selection Process

Clerkship Preceptors will be considered based on a recommendation from their local family medicine (FM) Site Director, Regional Education Lead, Undergraduate program Director, Pre-clerkship Director or Clerkship Director.  Prospective supervisors will be asked to complete a Preceptor Information Form and to make themselves available for a site visit.  In determining the readiness of a family physician to serve in the role of a Clerkship Supervisor, there will be an initial assessment of the supervisor’s educational track record and a review of their practice arrangements and location.  The final determination will be based on the following sources of information:

  • Consultation with the local University leadership
  • Review of available teacher evaluations
  • Review of Preceptor Information Form (completed in advance of site visit)
  • Practice site visit typically conducted by the Program Director and/or delegate. The site visit will include a tour of the practice and a meeting with the proposed preceptor, typically requiring at least one hour. The site visit will also serve as a starting point to identify preceptor interests, areas of expertise, and faculty development planning.

The Program Director will make the final determination.

For those preceptors who have been teaching for a long period of time and do not completely meet these criteria, these supervisors will fall under a “grandfather” clause and we ask that they work toward these criteria if possible.

It is important to note that all supervisors should have a minimum of three years’ experience before teaching postgraduate learners.

We would also strongly encourage these preceptors/supervisor to continue to take pre-clerkship, clerkship and elective learners as there is a “resident as teaching” component to the resident’s curriculum and they will need to have access/exposure to UG learners during their tenure in your practice.