Featuring Dianna Mertz, CST, Parkview Hospital; Emily Russell, CST, The Orthopedic Hospital; and Terry Herring, Ed.S, CST/CSFA, CSPDT, CSIS, COA, surgical technology division chair at Fayetteville Technical Community College

Preceptors play a critical role in the OR, helping ensure students are set up for success while learning on the job. Before a student sets foot in the OR, however, educators must also do their part and serve as a conduit between student and preceptor. The relationship among these individuals requires thoughtfulness, clear communication and an understanding of expectations.

We spoke with two preceptors to learn how educators can help prepare their students for a positive partnership with preceptors, as well as ways preceptors can support students in the OR.   

How Educators Can Support Preceptors

The relationship between educator and preceptor is a two-way street. While it’s the role of the preceptor to help students in the OR, educators can do a few things in advance to ensure a successful partnership with preceptors.

One of the first things an educator can do is get to know their preceptor. “Before students are brought to the facility, the educators should build a relationship with the preceptors,” explains Emily Russell, CST at The Orthopedic Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Think of it as an exercise in ma