Being a good preceptor is a challenging task that requires the possession of certain qualities. Accomplishing the assigned tasks is effectively is invaluable and it is a reflection of the one’s level of expertise and knowledge. Preceptors play an important role because they determine the effectiveness of transition from classroom patient care settings (Ciocco, 2015). The main role of a preceptor is to help nurses transform the knowledge learnt in class into clinical practice. In that regard, an effective preceptor should posses certain qualities that include clinical expertise, leadership, passion, patience, flexibility, and dependability.
Clinical expertise is necessary because preceptors instruct students and direct nurses in their new roles in order to help them gain experience by applying the knowledge they acquired in the classroom in clinical settings (Flynn & Stack, 2006). Therefore, an effective preceptor should possess great skills and knowledge based on years spent in clinical practice. Moreover, students usually ask many questions that require correct and accurate answers. An effective preceptor uses their knowledge and expertise to answer questions and satisfy the curiosity of students (O’Shea, 2002). In addition, they are required to possess current clinical skills and knowledge. The nursing field is always evolving, and as a result, new knowledge is generated every day.
An effective preceptor should possess leadership skills. In that regard, providing feedback and directions, as well as conducting evaluation is necessary. This is important because learning is a complex and evolutionary process that is accomplished effectively through approaches such as repetition, participation, and reinforcement (Myrick & Yonge, 2007). As a leader, nurse preceptor should provide learning opportunities, give feedback, respects students, and motivates and inspires students to like the profession of nursing. Providing constructive feedback is important because it gives students an opportunity to correct their mistakes and make improvements in areas where they exhibit weakness.
A competent receptor chooses the best teaching approach. Students have different learning styles and abilities. Therefore, it is important for the receptor to be patient in order to understand the needs of individual students and address them effectively. An effective preceptor evaluates students individually in order to determine their learning needs and styles (Ulrich & Mancini, 2012). The information obtained from the evaluation is used to choose the best method for teaching that addresses the needs of every student. An effective preceptor should also be familiar with the learning curriculum, specific goals to be attained for the specific clinical experience, and a proper understanding of the knowledge and skills that the student aims o acquire. Effective preceptors should encourage students to evaluate themselves regularly in order to determine their progress and identify areas that need improvement (Danilsen, Ballweg, Vorvick, & Sefcik, 2011).
I think flexibility and dependability are important qualities because so often, certain methods fail to attain specified learning goals thus necessitating a change in the style of instruction. An effective preceptor possesses the ability to shift from one style of instruction to another as necessary without affecting the quality of learning (O’Shea, 2002). In addition, dealing with the numerous responsibilities of instructing students or guiding new physicians requires great flexibility. Affective preceptors should be dependable and always available to address the needs of students. Students and new nurses should be able to count on their help and assistance whenever they need it.
Ciocco, M. (2015). Fast Facts for the Nurse Preceptor: Keys to Providing a Successful
Preceptorship in a Nutshell. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Danilsen, R., Ballweg, R., Vorvick, L., & Sefcik, D. (2011). The Preceptor’s Handbook for
Supervising Physician Assistants. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Flynn, J. P., & Stack, M. C. (20006). The Role of the Preceptor: A Guide for Nurse Educators,
Clinicians, and Managers. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Myrick, F., & Yonge, O. (2007). Nursing Preceptorship: Connecting Practice and Education.
New York, NY: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
O’Shea, K. L. (2002). Staff Development Nursing Secrets. New York, NY: Elsevier Health
Ulrich, B., & Mancini, M. E. (2012). Mastering Precepting: A Nurse’s Handbook for Success.
New York, NY: Sigma Theta Tau.