Why Do I Teach in Rural Practice? A Day in the Life of a Rural Preceptor


Original Presentation Date: 3/20/2020

Facilitator Lesson Plan

The Rural Preceptor teaching kit contains all you need to host your own team-based active-learning event featuring work by Robert Ostrander, MD., Rural Medical Scholars Program Director & Preceptor at the SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Many students and residents may consider teaching as a part of their rural practice. Few, however, recognize how important it is to their own well-being and to student learning. Precepting provides one-on-one instruction and mentorship from
passionate and knowledgeable rural physicians who usually are embedded in the close-knit community they serve. In their longitudinal relationships with students, rural teachers often allow more independence than is available in other settings. Becoming a rural preceptor or learning from a preceptor in a rural area is a win-win situation. Preceptors and students need each other.

NOTE: Having a family physician present for the in-session activity will enhance the learning experience for your group.

If you have questions about how to use or to adapt this teaching kit to your setting, contact us to schedule a phone call. We are happy to go over the details. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • List key skills and concepts necessary to be a clinical teacher.
  • Describe essential ingredients for professional well-being that precepting meets.
  • Envision themselves as an excellent clinical teacher in a rural setting.

Robert Ostrander, MD
Rural Medical Scholars Program Director and Preceptor, SUNY Upstate Medical University


Dr. Ostrander grew up in Clifton Springs and graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY with a double major in German literature and Biology. He received his M.D. from SUNY Upstate. He completed a 3-year Family Practice Residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. Dr. Ostrander has lived in Rushville, NY since starting his practice, Valley View Family Practice in 1986. He is actively involved with the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, and is the 2016-2017 President of that

Dr. Ostrander has been a preceptor in the RMED program since 1995. He resides in Rushville, NY with his wife Maribeth. They have four adult children. Their son Geoffrey Ostrander, M.D., who joined the practice in 2015, was a former RMED student and now serves as a community preceptor.


Before your session
  1. Recruit your teams. Ideally, 4 teams of 3-5 participants.
  2. Schedule a room that can accommodate all your participants and AV to play the presentation.
  3. Distribute the Pre-Session link
  4. Download the Presentation Slide Deck.
  5. Review the Slide Deck. Be sure to look at the presenter notes.
During your session
  1. Arrange your participants into teams within the room.
  2. Facilitate your session by following the prompts in the presenter notes of the Slide Deck.
  3. Facilitate general discussion with the full group. Go over any lingering thoughts.
  4. Evaluate the materials on your experience.
Click to download the presentation slide deck

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