A family medicine preceptorship experience is required for all students. There is no comparable way for the student to observe the physician in his/her medical, ethical, and community relationships. This experience is reserved for third-year medical students since it is our belief that these students are sufficiently educated and trained to be entrusted with the physical examination of, the taking of medical history for, and the making of tentative diagnoses and proposed treatment on patients under the supervision and review of a licensed physician: the preceptor.
Preceptors are teachers as they have been appointed to the teaching staff of the faculty of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. Faculty members off-campus (preceptors), come under the Board of Regents rules and regulations similarly to those on-campus. The rules of retirement and emeritus status also apply to the preceptors.
It should be continually in the minds of both preceptor and preceptee that the law is very specific with respect to the conditions under which medical students may serve as preceptees and be permitted to practice medicine: under supervision. The laws of Nebraska prohibit the practice of medicine and surgery (as defined in Section 71-1, 102) unless the person so practicing is licensed by the Department of Health. Section 71-1, 103 then reads in part as follows:
MEDICINE AND SURGERY: PRACTICE: PERSONS EXCEPTED.
The following classes of persons shall not be construed to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of medicine.*** (4) Students of medicine and surgery who are studying at an accredited school or college of medicine and who gratuitously prescribe for and treat disease under the supervision of a licensed physician.
It is emphasized that any medical student who prescribes for, or treats disease, in the absence of the supervisor (absence being interpreted as being that situation in which the supervisor is not immediately available or available within the time required by an emergency) makes oneself liable and will not be protected by law, the University, or its agents.
It is equally emphasized that any preceptor who absents him/herself from the preceptee for such periods of time that would permit the development of an emergency, during which time the preceptee could not reach him for consultation and help, shall have failed to fulfill the responsibility as a preceptor as authorized by the University of Nebraska and risks legal action not covered by the preceptor's insurance.