Family Medicine Preceptorships for First Year Medical Students: Durable Educational Value Amid Healthcare Transformation

  • James Boulger, PhD University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth Campus
  • Emily Onello, MD University of MN Medical School Duluth Campus
Keywords: family medicine, preceptorship, student evaluations, medical education, physician practice type


In existence for decades, the first year required Family Medicine Preceptorship at the Duluth regional campus of the University of Minnesota Medical School has provided students with opportunities to work with regional family physicians.  Exposing medical students to excellent primary care of patients early in the curriculum remains an educational priority.  This time series analysis for the years 1992, 2002 and 2012 examines the physician’s practice structure (physician-owner versus employed physician) along with physician willingness to participate. As anticipated, the data demonstrate a transition from independent practice to larger health systems; physicians in large health systems at 22.9% (1992); 28.8% (2002); and 64.3% (2012). In addition, a downward trend in the percentage of physicians agreeing to serve as preceptors is reported (1992 at 83.61%; 2002 at 70.97%; and 2012 at 61.22%). This time series analysis also provides comparative data summarizing student opinion and evaluation of these experiences from the years 1992, 2012 and 2015. Despite changes in practice structure and fewer physicians agreeing to precept, the data demonstrate consistently high ratings by medical students over time.

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Author Biography

James Boulger, PhD, University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth Campus

Full Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health

Submitted: 2018-02-14
Accepted: 2018-06-25
Published: 2018-07-12
Original Reports