What is a Preceptor?

A preceptorship is a one-to-one relationship between a midwife mentor or “preceptor” and a midwifery student.  Preceptorship is an accepted and established model in the health care professions and is considered to be a highly effective method for teaching clinical skills.  Preceptorship provides students with directed, supervised experience in the real world of midwifery, allowing students to have the opportunity to safely bridge the gap between midwifery theory and clinical practice.

Preceptorship at the Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery

To graduate, students must complete all didactic educational requirements and clinical skills competencies in accordance with the requirements of Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery and the North American Registry of Midwives. Students who need additional program time utilize an Integration Phase during which they obtain the necessary additional clinical experience under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Upon completion of the program, students take the North American Registry of Midwives examination and fulfill the requirements to become certified professional midwives.  Graduates are licensed as midwives by the Medical Board of California.

Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery combines the best of didactic and clinical learning in meeting state requirements for midwifery education and licensure. This program prepares student midwives in the theory and skills necessary to provide excellent midwifery care to healthy pregnant women and their newborns, including the ready identification of complications requiring consultation or referral. Clinical instruction generally begins after eight to twelve months of didactic learning and may take place at approved clinical sites in the student’s community or at another geographic location under the direct supervision of approved, credentialed preceptors.  Qualified preceptors must meet all current requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives, the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, and Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery.  The school will verify the midwife’s credentials at least 30 days in advance of the start date of the preceptorship. For the protection of the client, the midwifery student, and the supervising midwife, all preceptors must agree to provide Nizhoni students with direct physical supervision as they care for midwifery clients. This includes all aspects of midwifery care, including prenatal visits, home visits, labor checks, and intrapartum, postpartum and newborn care.  Violation of this rule is cause for termination of the preceptorship agreement.  Preceptors should have a sufficient number of clients so that students are able to fulfill clinical experience requirements.  Inasmuch as students are required to perform well-woman care skills, it is helpful for students to work with clinical faculty members who provide full-service midwifery care, including well-woman care.  It is strongly recommended that students work with at least two preceptors during their training in order to experience multiple practice styles and minimize knowledge deficits.

Some preceptors charge a midwifery student for preceptorship; most do not, feeling that the work provided by the student is a fair exchange for the clinical instruction provided by the preceptor. The Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery does not pay for a student’s preceptorship experience. Students are strongly advised to carefully consider the terms of any prospective preceptorship and to make a preceptorship arrangement a written contract with clear terms agreeable to all parties in order to avoid misunderstanding or disagreement.  Students must be willing to meet all clinical preceptorship requirements established by the North American Registry of Midwives.

For the Student, preceptorship provides:

  • Opportunity to learn clinical skills in a variety of settings
  • Experience in the “real world” of midwifery practice
  • Socialization into the midwifery profession
  • Increased clinical competency and confidence
  • Ease of transition from the role of student to practicing midwife

For the Midwife, being a preceptor provides:

  • Continuing education and involvement in the learning process
  • Validation and reinforcement of professional values
  • Participation in innovative, evidenced-based, up-to-date practices
  • Exciting interaction with faculty members in a variety of settings
  • Opportunities to influence and secure the future of midwifery practice

Roles and Responsibilities

The Preceptor-Student dyad is an important relationship that facilitates the student’s progression toward clinical learning outcomes.  To be successful, this relationship must be founded in mutual trust and respect, clear expectations, open communication, and real commitment.  To achieve the best possible learning outcomes, clear definitions of each person’s roles and responsibilities must be established.  Open and ongoing communication between the student and the preceptor is critical to the success of the relationship and the learning experience.  The preceptor’s first responsibility is to the client, then to the student.  Midwifery students are responsible for their own learning and actions.


Would you like to become a Clinical Preceptor at Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery?

Click on the ‘Contact Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery’ button tab located on the top menu bar. Select the appropriate box. Complete the section entitled “Contact Information” and click the Submit button. You will receive an email confirmation verifying your request.

Benefits for the Student

  • Participate in the birthing practice in a variety of settings.
  • Experience the “real world” of midwifery practice.
  • Socialization into the midwifery profession.
  • Gain competence and confidence.
  • Begin the transition from the role of student to a Midwife.

Benefits for the Preceptor

  • Professional involvement in the teaching/learning process.
  • Validates and reinforces professional value and practice.
  • Stimulates innovative and improved practice.
  • Opportunity to step back and appreciate own contribution to the profession.
  • Contributions to future Midwifery care through influencing a student’s practice.
  • Opportunity to network with other preceptors within and across agencies.

If you would like to become a Clinical Preceptor at the Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery.

Click on the ‘Contact Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery’ button tab located on the top menu bar. Select the appropriate box. Complete the section ‘Contact Information’. Click the Submit button. You will receive an email confirmation verifying your request