Tips for building rapport

Here are some tips for building rapport [1]:

Be interested by learning about your students. You can ask them…

  • What are you most interested in learning about?
  • How do you feel about being here?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What kind of feedback works best for you?
  • What has helped your learning in placements previous to this one?

Be respectful – obvious, but not always practiced!


  • Students bring a lifetime of skills and experiences with them
  • These experiences may be different than yours, but they still have value
  • Back when you were a student and the challenges you faced
  • It can be a bumpy road, for everyone


To maintain a sense of curiosity when conflicts arise whether they are personality differences or differences in the style of working or learning

Be supportive.

A preceptor’s goal is to assist a student in developing effective clinical skills and professional attitudes.  Therefore, the manner in which you speak and act with your students should reflect this and may include:

  • Providing a secure supportive environment when students face difficult situations
  • Refraining from being judgmental or harsh when students make mistakes
  • Demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in seeing them succeed

[1] Burns, C., Beauchesne, M., Ryan-Krause, P., & Sawin, K. (2006). Mastering the Preceptor Role: Challenges of Clinical Teaching. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 20(3), 172-183. doi:10.1016/j.pedhc.2005.10.012