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Help for Preceptors & AITs

Let's kick this off with some answers to the most
about the AIT Program... Questions both the AIT (Administrator Residents) and the Preceptors have...

Note that we do use the terms...

...all rather "interchangeably."  There is a lot of discussion at the national level about what we should be calling our "trainees" (yet another term...).  As a "profession," there IS a movement toward a change from the common AIT terminology because you're NOT like an "apprentice" working in a "trade" such as to become a blacksmith, but it's truly more of an "internship" to become a professional.  Momentum for the program is that it would be called an "Administrator Residency" so the terms such as "interns" are gaining momentum.  More will follow over time.  The intent though is that this is a program to develop professional administrators, regardless of what we call them (or they call themselves).  Time will tell...

The current rules state that the  program has a MINIMUM requirement of 560 hours. There is a restriction of not allowing the intern/resident to do more than 40 hours in any given week, so the minimum is 14 weeks (14 40 hour weeks) is the absolute fastest it can be accomplished. There is ALSO a 700 hour program for those candidates/applicants with a degree that is NOT related to any of the NAB defined domains of practice OR without long term care experience in 2 of the last 5 years. The least amount of time one can finish the 700 hour program (again, limited to a maximum of 40 hour weeks) is 17.5 weeks.

The MAXIMUM amount of time allowed is 1 year from the date it is started. So, it is anywhere from 14 weeks to a year, depending on the time available of the resident in the program and their initiative and zeal to complete this internship.

So, why did we emphasize that this is what the "current rules state?"  As you should be aware, a statute takes precedence over rules and with HB2824 moving this agency's functions under the purview of OSDH, there were several other things in that statute that are going to make a difference.  Note that this bill becomes effective November 1, 2023.  Among those changes... the new statute states that all of the training programs will meet NAB Accreditation standards.  It doesn't spell it out, but the NAB Accreditation standards for AITs will therefore change on November 1... The minimum number of hours for an NHA applicant will no longer be 560 hours (per the current rule...and hence that emphasis) but will be 1,000 hours.  Additionally, for RCAL applicants, this is also significant because there is currently NO requirement for an AIT; but with the imposition of meeting NAB Accreditation standards, the AIT requirement will now be 500 hours minimum (no longer a ZERO requirement) which also means that the RCAL community needs to start getting some Preceptors trained as well to prepare for this new requirement in the RCAL world.

AITs (Administrator Residents) can start after they have started classroom training (such AU or Administrators University, or the NAB approved entry level training or some other Board approved training). You cannot start the residency until you’ve started the classroom training, essentially… You also cannot start until you have the training permit.  You get the permit upon being "set up" to start the program.

There is a fee to to pay prior to having the setup conducted... Let us know you're ready to start it, we'll coordinate a time to sit down with both the Preceptor and the AIT and go over the requirements and documentation required, the tools at your disposal and issue the training permit.  THEN you can start.  It takes some coordination to get this scheduled.  

There are two limiting factors at play on this answer. First, once you finish your academic or classroom training, you have 2 years to become licensed or you have to start over. However, once you start the internship, you have 1 year to finish that program. If you wait to start for 18 months after you finished the classroom portion, YOU will have limited yourself to finishing AIT (and getting licensed) within a 6 month period left on that 2 year requirement. IN MOST CASES, people start the residency soon after they start the classroom training and they have one year to complete it and still have some time left to complete what should be the final step in getting licensed, that of passing the NAB exams (Core and Line of Service, aka LOS).

Talk with OSBELTCA staff  and once you have paid your AIT fee ($350 plus bank/transaction fees), we will work with you to set up an appointment for that "setup" discussed above with the AIT and the Preceptor (at the Preceptor’s facility usually) to get the training permit issued so you can get started.

Some applicants come to the program and start their training knowing in advance who their Preceptor is going to be. This is not the case in all situations by a long shot. We maintain a list of certified Preceptors in the office and when we have a student who needs help finding a Preceptor, we will try to find one near where you live and/or work who will agree to be your Preceptor. Preceptors are also encouraged to meet you (like a job interview – you should treat such a meeting as you would a job interview) to decide if they want to take you on. It IS a commitment for them to take you so they should rightly be guarded about deciding who they wish to train. In many states, Interns/AITs are left on their own to find a Preceptor and there are horror stories about their inability to find one and become licensed in those states… In Oklahoma, our Staff has historically helped our AITs find a preceptor and works with them (and you) to get you placed in a facility that works for your needs...and theirs.  

These requirements are defined in OSBELTCA rules and we usually get this question because an applicant knows an administrator somewhere who they think they’d like to have them be their Preceptor. It is a voluntary thing (we don’t and cannot FORCE administrators to become Preceptors…). Essentially, the Preceptor has to have been a licensed administrator in Oklahoma for at least 2 years and have a clean record. They will have also gone through Preceptor Training (which is now online and they get 5 CEUs for doing it...pretty cheap CEUs at $15) and then they can apply to be certified as a Preceptor. If you know someone who meets those requirements who would be a good Preceptor (and we're going to need a LOT of new RCAL Administrators to become preceptors...), there’s a chance they already are a Preceptor or that they just haven’t taken the time and effort to become one yet (or to renew an expired certification). They DO get 5 CEUs for attending the online training to become one (or be renewed) AND they get CE for training AITs. They also learn from the process (quite a bit) so there is incentive (though not monetary) for them to become a Preceptor and to take these interns under their tutelage and train them. 

If you are looking for the link to APPLY, it's in the LICENSEE PORTAL where you go to renew your license annually, update your contact information and work information, etc...  Just have your CEUs from the Preceptor Training (online) ready to upload.  We also have a "How To" video that talks you through the application process that may help you to be more comfortable about the process.  It starts in the license portal for the Preceptors...

We’re going to answer a LOT more than that question here, so hang on.

The short answer (especially for Interns) is “probably not.” There is no requirement for the internship to be a paid position. If you have found such a scenario, you’re probably lucky. In most cases where someone is being paid, they are already an employee of the facility (in another capacity such as a department head) where they are going to do their internship. All others are there on their own time and since they have to have a means of living, they are either dependent on a spouse to be working, have a pension or other savings of some sort they’re falling back on during this time, or, in many cases, they are doing the internship in their “true” spare time…after work and on weekends.

Preceptors?  You get CEUs for completing Interns... but extra pay?  Probably not unless you can convince your employer... so, still, "probably not" is still the right answer.

The Preceptor, therefore, does NOT have to be present when you are doing your internship hours. There are times, yes, when that is clearly optimal (and required) but there are other times when the Intern will be accomplishing their training (under the tutelage of various department coordination with the Preceptor, obviously) at other times that work for everyone involved. Flexibility is the key to making this work.

Some of the PITFALLS in the program actually occur when the AIT is employed at the facility… They are tempted to continue to work in their normal job and are simply “filling the square” and not actually gaining the experience they’re designed to gain from working in the other departments. This is not ideal, clearly, and it falls jointly on the Preceptor and the Intern (probably mostly on the Intern to be selfish about their training...and to get out of their comfort zone and do things they're not used to doing) to ensure that this does not occur…that the experience in the other departments is actually gained.

ADDITIONAL PITFALLS that both the Preceptor and the AIT/Intern need to guard against include a number of things. Applicants are all different. Everyone who goes through the program comes to the table with a varied background. Some actually have “expertise” in some areas and therefore, it could be “tempting” to the Preceptor to “exploit” that expertise for the benefit of the facility. To small degrees (within the confines of the hours set aside for each module) that might be acceptable (the facility probably will benefit from the presence of these Interns in many different ways). But, like the department head who is tempted to sit at their desk and do their normal job, this person also has a lot of OTHER things they need to experience and they should not be “used” in this manner to the detriment of their AIT experience. Likewise, the Department Heads who are helping to train the Interns (through the mentoring of the Preceptor) should actually have a “plan” of things for you to do and should not be using the Intern for “slave labor” just to get some things done that nobody wants to do… filing, cleaning closets… there should be a “purpose” for the tasks you are asked to do, but SOME “rolling up your sleeves” and getting dirty SHOULD still be expected. The Intern should not expect to show up in a coat and tie and walk around looking good while they learn. They can expect to participate – but they also have limitations. Some may be “CNAs” or “CMAs” or “nurses” or whatever and therefore MAY be trained or “signed off” on doing certain tasks, but when it comes to “lifting” residents and those sorts of specific tasks (this is merely one example), if the Intern is not signed off on doing them, they should not be doing them (in the interest of the care for the residents).

When someone from our staff comes out to do the “set up” for the Preceptor and Intern, we will bring the paperwork with us, which will include the Training Permit (which is good from that day and expires a year later). We will bring A module report (to show you what they look like... you need to use them online...) and those are due within 10 days after the completion of each module… The Intern will also have signed an agreement with the Preceptor that lays out their calendar and how many hours are proposed in each of the modules… And a final report and narrative is completed by the Preceptor.

In most cases, the Module Reports are completed by the Intern documenting the hours completed in that module and a summary of what you learned essentially. The Preceptor will review that (it’s feedback for them to learn about the AIT's experience, insight gained and whether the AIT was actually exposed to the things they were intended to be exposed to and experience or not…) and sign it and then the AIT will UPLOAD that into OSBELTCA's system. Keep a copy of everything for yourself! Always. The final report, however, especially the narrative portion specifically, should be completed by the Preceptor who is communicating to the Board his/her impression of the AIT as a potential administrator and so on. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE PROGRAM and try to do all of your module reports… Get those in to OSBELTCA as you are completing those modules. As a side note, these forms are all in a PDF fillable format… OSBELTCA does not accept them in a hand-written format so go ahead and do them right the first time.

The rules are all in OAC 490, Chapter 10, subparagraph 8…it’s not necessarily something you will see on the State Standards Exam per se but it is something you will want to be certain you’re complying with as you go through the internship. As a future Preceptor, as many of you will get the bug and want to teach future administrators, too, it’s also worth knowing the rules and how they also are changing over time. What has been explained here is only a paraphrasing of those rules (and may not even be current…we may not remember to update this if/when a rule changes... please tell us if you find an error!). The actual rules are what you should truly be familiar with and comply with.

Speaking of the rules AND the rules changes...
Another aspect of the rule change that permits NAB Approved Entry Level training in lieu of Board approved training is that these "national" programs DO NOT address the State rules/laws and therefore the AIT is not prepared AT ALL by this program for the State Standards exam... AU, for example, does prepare the AITs for that exam but these programs do not.  Knowing this is half the battle... Preceptors need to pay attention to this fact and work in some more effort and time helping the AITs prepare for the State exams.  We highly recommend that the AIT get a Study Guide from us ($50) and look up the answers... and then, as a re-view (it's only a re-view if you've previously viewed it), find the videos (elsewhere on our website) that actually go through a review as a final preparation for the state exams.  That "technique" seems to have helped a LOT of people to prepare for the exams and better understand the material.  The videos are free but you'll get the most out of them IF you do the leg work FIRST and look up the answers yourself.  

The NAB/ACHCA AIT Manual is a VERY useful tool for both the Intern and the Preceptor - we highly recommend both reference it and use it to set up the program.  It has lots of insight, for example, with Sample Learning Activities to help determine what kinds of things can help the Intern to learn the intended information... It also serves to help the Preceptor to communicate with the Department Heads so they know what (and why) the Intern is actually there with them... and the Intern can also ask questions if he/she sees something in there that has been glossed over and they think they need a more thorough understanding about.  Many Preceptors look at the Manual for the first time and are actually awestruck a little in terms of, "Yes, I do all these things.  Didn't know it was that extensive actually!"  It IS a very thorough tool to help get our next generations of professional Administrators prepared.

Last Modified on Aug 10, 2023