On Our Radar Spring 2014

A preceptorship is an excellent way to give back to your field, whether it’s for a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant.  Over the next several editions of this newsletter, we will profile preceptors. Our first piece focuses on Sari Maenza, Family Nurse Practitioner.

Maenza works at White Plains Hospital Heath Center, which treats about 13,000 patients every year.  She works with many of the under-served population and sees a range of both chronic and acute conditions. “Many of our patients have a vast array of medical and social issues, and we see it all, from diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease to cardiac problems.  As a result, students have a great learning experience.”

Lienhard preceptors work closely with students to serve as mentors and role models, providing feedback to ensure students meet course objectives. 

A 2008 FNP graduate of Lienhard, Maenza has had a rich and varied nursing career for more than 35 years.  She has worked as a staff nurse, in managerial roles, as an educator, and now as a Nurse Practitioner. 

As a preceptor, she teaches RNs who are on their way to becoming NPs.  “They practice what they’re learning and apply it, so they develop an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the nursing profession.”

As a preceptor Maenza sees her role as the person providing aspiring NPs with the tools they need to become decision-makers.  “We let them learn and we’re there to guide them.  They are working at a different level when they become NPs.  As an RN, you are following directions and often taking orders; as an NP, you are initiating therapies.  You are making the decisions, whether those decisions are about what lab work to order for a patient or what treatment options are appropriate.”

Maenza became a preceptor for many reasons: to give back to her profession, to advocate on behalf of NPs and the vital role they play, and to model her practice.  Precepting also keeps her current. “It keeps you on your toes because new guidelines and legislation are always coming out.”  She also enjoys teaching.  “Students are really receptive; they want to learn.  And once students are up and running, it’s great. They can function independently in a practice by the time they graduate.”

While precepting has many benefits, there are also challenges.  Maenza says, “It’s not easy – you have to move patients quickly which is hard when you’re precepting.  Students can slow you down.”

Maenza started out as a candy striper at Burke Rehabilitation Center in the 70s; she enjoyed being with patients and always loved taking care of them.  “You have to have a passion for what you do.”

She says that through precepting she has met wonderful students. “Not only do I teach them, I learn from them too.”

If you’re interested in joining Sari Maenza and becoming a preceptor, please contact Jane Dolan RN, MSN, Lienhard School of Nursing's graduate clinical placement and recruitment coordinator at (914) 773-3326 or jdolan@pace.edu.