There are five clinical courses associated with both the FNP and Adult–Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner options. The first course, Advanced Physical Assessment (NS 830) is the foundation to the remaining clinical courses. Two support science courses, i.e., NS 838 Advanced Pathophysiology, NS 836 Pharmacology for Nurse Practitioners, must be taken prior to NS 832. NS 834 (Advanced Nutrition) can be taken concurrently with NS 840/841 or prior to these courses. The student will complete 50 on-site clinical hours with an approved preceptor and clinical site for the assessment course (NS 830); 120 hours on-site clinical hours are to be completed in NS 832. The student will complete 160 on-site clinical contact hours for each of the remaining clinical courses. All clinical experiences require an approved preceptor and clinical site.

Planned clinical experiences, with competent mentoring and support are essential components toward your learning necessary clinical skills for the nurse practitioner role. We expect that under careful and thorough supervision from your clinical preceptor, you will apply what you learn while working with clients in actual primary care settings. Under course faculty and preceptor guidance, you will be expected to integrate clinical experiences with theoretical content learned from the core and support courses, and from clinical class discussion, readings, clinical rounds, evidence-based practice standards and practice guidelines. In addition to your assigned course readings, you will need to spend additional time preparing for clinical by reviewing current textbooks, relevant professional journals and web-based information sources.

In order to begin clinical courses, you must establish a preceptor and clinical site relationship. The process for establishing preceptor relationships and clinical site identification is explained below. Note: This process can take up to two months to complete, so do not wait to establish your clinical contacts. Use of military preceptors or sites may require lead-time of six to 12 months to complete the contract arrangements. It is important for you to read, understand and follow these directions upon entry into the NP programs so plans may be made well in advance to locate an experience that will be of benefit to you as you progress through the program.

All clinical experiences in the NP programs are to occur with competent preceptor mentoring and support in order to ensure students obtain clinical skills appropriate for the NP role. Therefore, all clinical preceptor(s) and clinical site(s) must be pre-approved by the Program Director or Assistant Director.

Approval of a clinical preceptor and clinical site must be obtained prior to beginning each NP clinical course. The student is responsible for identifying a preceptor(s) who is/are appropriate for each clinical experience. Since our students live in many cities throughout the United States, you must begin to locate a general practice preceptor and clinical site that best suits your educational needs. You should begin interviewing and delineating appropriate general practice preceptors and clinical sites as soon as you have been accepted to the NP programs at Clarkson College. This is even more crucial for students who are entering Nurse Practitioner Certificate programs at Clarkson College.


One of your first tasks in preparation for entry into the clinical tract will be to locate and secure the written intent of at least one general practice primary care provider prior to registration in NS 830 (Advanced Physical Assessment). This person (or persons) will act as your preceptor as you progress through the 50 contact hours to learn advanced clinical assessment skills. You may wish to also use this person in future clinical courses.

Preceptor Qualifications

To assure that you are able to fulfill your clinical obligations for each course, it is important for you to carefully screen and select preceptors who have the time to devote to you and who are willing to allow hands-on practice and clinical recording using their patients.

Basic preceptor qualifications that must be met for all clinical courses in the NP major option include the following:

  • Physician (MD), Osteopathic Physician (DO), Physician Assistant (PA), or Nurse Practitioner (NP);
  • Nurse Practitioners must have earned MSN degree;
  • Currently licensed in state of proposed clinical preceptorship (except providers practicing in US government settings);
  • Preceptor practicing in area related to content of clinical course in which student is enrolled;
  • Two years' work experience

Clinical Site Qualifications

Appropriate clinical sites include primary care offices, outpatient primary care clinics, public health or rural health clinics.


In addition to obtaining a preceptor and clinical sites, the NP student is responsible for:

  • Following the administrative policies, regulations, standards, practices (e.g., universal precautions) and procedures of the contracted (affiliated) clinical facilities.
  • Safeguarding the confidentiality of client information.
  • Providing their own transportation to and from the clinical facilities.
  • Reporting to the preceptor on time and as scheduled.
  • Providing College faculty appropriate notification when conflicts occur.
  • Conforming to the standards of professional practice established by the preceptor, affiliated clinical facilities, and any applicable regulating body while participating in the preceptor experience.
  • Maintaining RN licensure and Basic Life Support certification.
  • Wearing a Clarkson College identification badge while in the clinical practice area. Arrangements for the badge will occur when you are on campus either for NS 799 or during the graduate weekend for NS 830.
  • Checking e-mail daily. Students registered in NP courses are expected to check their student e-mail account frequently.
  • Keeping the course faculty fully apprised of your ability to complete the clinical hours in the expected time frame. If it becomes apparent to you that your approved preceptor will be unable to meet his/her agreed upon obligations, it is your responsibility to inform the course faculty of the situation and to promptly locate an alternative preceptor under whom the expectations can be met. If it becomes apparent that the expected time frame cannot be met, it is your responsibility to drop the class after discussion with the course faculty and your advisor.
  • Keeping the course faculty/advisor or director apprised of any personal crisis that arises that may prevent completion of any courses while attending Clarkson College. All faculty and administrators are well aware that certain situations may arise while students are enrolled in the graduate program and make every effort to help you decide what can and should be done about your educational responsibilities at this time of crisis. The key to any sound decision or alternative plan requires that you make Clarkson College fully aware of your situation. Decisions about tuition refund, dropping a course or courses, taking a leave of absence, obtaining assistance from Student Services can be done in a satisfactory manner when you notify and discuss the situation with the course faculty, your advisor or the Director of the Graduate Nursing program immediately.

Course, student and faculty evaluations are an expected part of any educational experience. These evaluations are important not only because they are required by regional and national accrediting bodies but they provide information that leads to future improvement of the student, program and Clarkson College. Grading in the clinical track includes consideration of your preceptor’s appraisal of your skills, clinical logs, the quality of your written assignments, your contributions to group discussions and your performance on written and/or on-site clinical examinations. Discussion of each evaluation method follows.

Preceptor(s) Assessment of Students

All preceptors provide input into the student's clinical performance via the midterm and final assessment of student performance. Based on the input from the preceptor throughout the clinical preceptorship or practicum, midterm and final assessment of student performance, student self-evaluation, and didactic coursework, faculty evaluate whether the students have met the course competencies/objectives and provide the final grade for the course.