Undergraduate Internship Supervisor Information

Preceptor Toolkit

Becoming a Preceptor for a CHS Undergraduate

The School of Community Health Sciences offers undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees. CHS 494 is a class requirement of the undergraduate program. The undergraduate program offers an undergraduate degree in Community Health Sciences with either a public health or kinesiology specialization. 

The Field Studies internship is a culminating experience for our students which provides a hands-on work experience they can carry with them into their professional careers. To ensure our students are learning and developing skills to propel them forth in their public health careers a Field Study must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be health related
  • It must be a service-learning activity - This means that the student must be doing something that is of service to the host site (not an independent research project for example). The student should be applying knowledge, skills and abilities learned in other Community Health Sciences courses at UNR.
  • Lastly, the student must learn knowledge and skills that will be useful to their future as a health professional.  

It is important to note that students should be gaining NEW knowledge & skills through this experience. If a student already works or volunteers for your organization, the field study activities must be different from his/her current or previous responsibilities. Also, a relative or close friend may not supervise a student. And independent research, observation, and job shadowing are NOT allowed for more than 10% of the overall time. 

Students are responsible for finding their own internship placements. The School of Community Health Sciences helps students find their placements by fostering relationships with community organizations, such as yours, and potential internship opportunities. These opportunities are posted online at the CHS Internship Opportunities web page.  

More information can be found in the Supervisor's Handbook.

You can also view a quick Preceptor's Orientation Video for more information. 

Submitting/Updating Your Internship Opportunity

If your agency would like to submit or update an internship opportunity for students, please fill out this simple SurveyMonkey form. Opportunities are updated every semester for each incoming class. 

Some Considerations

  • Internships must be unpaid for undergraduates.  
  • All placements must be approved prior to the student beginning their internship by having a site visit and organizational agreement on file.  
  • Internships must be completed within the semester the student is taking the CHS 494 course.
  • Timeline of activities may vary depending on the semester.

Required Forms:

The host organization is responsible for having two documents on file with the risk and legal team at the University prior to a student starting their internship.  This includes:

Community Site Visit

The University now requires all organizations to undergo an initial site visit before a student begins an internship. Yes, we want to know our students are in a safe and educational environment to learn what it is like to be in the health field, but we also use it as an opportunity to get to know each other, organization to organization, so we can ensure a compatible fit for all parties involved.The site visit must be conducted and signed by a Field Studies Coordinator at the Nevada Public Health Training Center and once executed, will be good for three years. 

Organizational Agreement

This agreement is between your organization and the University of Nevada, Reno and will only need to be filled out once your organization has agreed to host a student as part of their internship.This form will most likely be filled out and submitted after the site visit, but before the student begins their internship. Some organizations like to fill it out and submit it the same day their site visit is conducted. 

This agreement ensures the host site is suitable for the learning experience of the student, has adequate and safe facilities, and the student will have an accessible and knowledgeable supervisor to guide their experience. It entails the roles and responsibilities of the hosting organization and UNR. It covers insurance and liability and ensures compliance with Federal, State, and Local laws.

This form, upon signature, will also be good for up to three years.

Preceptor Responsibilities

As a preceptor, we are hoping you will be an effective mentor for our students. We anticipate you will help our students learn what is expected in a professional setting in terms of both conduct and quality of work. It should be noted, that although we want you to have a high expectation of our students, it's important to make sure your expectations are appropriate for a student at the undergraduate level, and for the allotted 100-hours given for this internship.

It is important to work with the student to identify a scalable project that will benefit your organization but can also be completed in the allotted 100-hours.

We suggest you outline your expectations of our students. What days/times should they report to their internship? What should they wear? Is there a hierarchy of communication? What are the best mediums to communicate (e.g. email, phone, text). It is important to be clear and to the point with our students.

As stated previously, our students will be working with you to develop a project management plan. Please review and monitor this plan. Students will be graded on the implementation of this plan. Please mentor our students to make their goals for their field placement SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive). This way, students can see true progress throughout their field placement.

Please provide our students with opportunities for regular check-ins. Frequency and mode of communication are between you and the student; however, it is recommended this happens at least weekly.

We ask that you review student time logs and confirm hours worked with the CHS 494 course instructor. This keeps the student accountable for the hours they work for your organization.

Lastly, we will ask you to complete two brief evaluations, a mid-term and final evaluation, covering professionalism and performance. This will give you the opportunity to evaluate the students' performance, help the student understand their strengths and weaknesses and it helps us better guide our students to a professional career that fits them. 

Addressing Challenges

Most internship experiences are life changing and truly develop our students professionally as they enter their chosen career. However, occasionally, some students and some preceptors do not find out until later that this internship is not a good organizational fit. And as a result, both parties involved become increasingly unsatisfied with their experience. Know that the Nevada Public Health Training Center is a resource to help you mitigate these situations.Also, keep in mind the student did sign a student agreement which stipulates they can be removed from the internship for violating any intern site rules and regulations. Please notify the University immediately if problems start to arise. In turn, if the student feels they are not getting the site support they need to be successful in their internship, or they feel unsafe or uncomfortable, they are within their right to consult the University to be removed from their internship.

All situations are different and will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

We want all parties involved to be set-up for success! So that the student is learning and fostering skills to carry with them throughout their career, and that your organization is receiving help on completing important projects for our community.

Contact Information:

To obtain more information or schedule a site visit, please contact Melanie Flores at melanief@unr.edu