Faculty Want To Be Your Sponsor

Over the years that Clinical Distinction has been a TUCOM course, we have had only positive feedback from faculty who have been involved. They tell us that they enjoy working with students who are engaged in adult learning, that they are impressed by the students creative and passionate work, that they are interested in the student focus on EPAs and competencies.

While it might take some explanation, adjunct faculty who hear “I’m excited to work with you at your clinic and have drafted a contract of learning which describes a specific area I would like to focus on while I’m here” often have one or more of the following reactions:

  • Who is this student who is taking initiative to create learning goals for themselves?
  • This will make my job easier, since I know the student is looking to be engaged and self motivated
  • This might be a more interesting month

Of course there are often questions like

  • What do I have to do?
  • Is it more work for me?
  • Am I qualified to assess entrustability?

But these questions are easy to answer:

Work for the Preceptor:

  • For specialty tracks, rather than completing a Preceptor Evaluation Form, the preceptor sponsoring a student would complete the narrative evaluation form.
  • The exit interview, which should be part of any clerkship, is a strongly suggested part of Clinical Distinction. This is a live or virtual meeting between the preceptor and student to review the project plan, successes and obstacles, and the student’s self-evaluation.

Qualification for assessing entrustability

  • Physicians are uniquely qualified to assess a student’s level of entrustability
  • The rubric is so intuitive it rarely requires any training.
  • Here’s a translation of the levels of entrustability to the language a preceptor might more readily recognize:

Level 1: Not allowed to do the EPA

  • 1a Not allowed to observe –> “Please wait here and do some reading.”
  • 1b Allowed to observe,–> “Watch me do this.”

Level 2: Do with full direct supervision

  • 2a Coactivity with supervisor –> “Let’s do this together.”
  • 2b Supervisor in room ready to help–>  “I’ll watch you.”

Level 3: Do with supervision on demand

  • 3a Supervisor immediately available all findings checked –>   “You go ahead, and I’ll double-check all of your findings.”
  • 3b Supervisor immediately available key findings checked–>  You go ahead, and I’ll double-check key findings.”
  • 3c Supervisor distantly available (phone) findings reviewed –> ( in most instances, a student must be licensed ( intern), for a supervisor to allow this level of supervision, therefore most students can only reach this stage hypothetically.


Who Should Sponsor you?

The best choice for a faculty sponsor is the preceptor, clinician, principal investigator, or specialist that will observe your work during the specialty project. A quality entrustment decision depends on workplace assessment. If a student will be doing any clinical activities or research, the preceptor or principal investigator is the right choice for sponsor.

If you are at a large academic center and would like a resident to be your sponsor, you will also need a faculty preceptor to verify your grade – this can be done by having the faculty complete a Clinical Preceptor Evaluation and having the resident complete the contract and narrative with you. To ensure the right paperwork is sent to each person, register the faculty as preceptor and the resident as sponsor when you complete the rotation request form.

Students who do projects in a non clinical setting – either independent work or other community, cultural or alternative health practice types of activities, will need to find a faculty sponsor who is appropriate for the subject and available to do the work required. The faculty sponsor does not need to be a physician, however, it should be someone engaged in medical education at some level – for example, a scientist or alternative program director. If you are unsure about the credentials of someone you would like to select for your faculty sponsor, contact your CD advisor to discuss it.

TUCOM faculty in general, and CD advisors specifically, can sponsor you, however, don’t lean on these faculty just because they are easy to get a hold of or already understand Clinical Distinction. Students are most successful in their MSPE excerpts and evaluations when their selected faculty is involved in their project and can assess the work effectively. An appropriate time to ask TUCOM faculty to sponsor you is when you will be working directly with them, for example, Dr. Nuno has worked with several students to develop projects in integrative medicine. Dr. Shubrook has sponsored students who have worked on research projects in Diabetes with him.

We have heard from residency directors that they value the opinion of faculty who are not within the TUCOM system to evaluate TUCOM student performance because they have a greater likelihood of being objective. Well this is obviously not always true, it is something to keep in mind when selecting your faculty sponsor for clinical distinction