All practica should be based on 2 – 5 objectives linked to the student’s academic program competencies. The preceptor and the student should meet, construct and discuss objectives at the beginning of the practicum. It is recommended to use the 'SMART' guidelines in order to assure that each objective is:
- Specific - A specific objective has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general
one. To make an objective specific, make sure to include the Who, What, When, Where and
Why (e.g. A general objective would be "Get in shape." A specific objective would be "I will
join and attend a health club at least three times per week for three months in order to lose
- Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of
each objective. Ask yourself "How much? How many? How will I know when it is
accomplished?” In the objective above, the 15 pounds is what makes it measurable.
- Attainable -Objectives should be achievable given the resources and time available.
- Realistic - Objectives are realistic when the skills needed to reach the objective are available
and the goal fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization.
- Timely - When setting objectives, you should ensure that there is an understanding of a
begin date, end date, and how much time it will take to reach the objective within the
timeframe. In the objective above, the 3 months is the time frame for achieving the goal.