The Benefits of Preceptor Training Programs on Preceptor Abilities

Lioudmyla F., Kristi H., Anisa P. & Nicole T.

pre%5B1%5D.jpgProfessional practicing nurses need critical thinking skills to be competent, safe, and skillful providers of care. A preceptor acts as a liaison between the academic and the professional aspect of nursing. These nurses go above and beyond their normal nursing roles and take on the noble responsibility of teaching to the best of their ability. They assist in achieving academic goals, often viewed as unrealistic and disconnected from the real world of nursing and practice policy, guidelines, and timelines. (Anisa)

Many nurses said that their preceptorship role was just an additional responsibility to their job description as a nurse. A large number of nurses also recognized that the overwhelming workload, and subsequent time limitations in teaching to be the least satisfying aspect of their preceptorship experience, having no time given toward teaching or evaluation among their other duties (Yonge, Hagler, Cox & Drefs, 2008). Most nurse preceptors felt unprepared to precept due to the fact that they were given short notice of student placements, or the students were poorly matched with their placement based on their interests and future goals (Yonge et al., 2008). Therefore, in addition to time constraints and increased workload, precepting when unprepared can cause increased stress for nurses making the experience undesirable. (Nicole)

Preceptorship training programs can be beneficial to nurses entering a preceptor role. Since many nurse preceptors have never been in an educating role, knowing how to guide and provide constructive criticism is beneficial for both the student and preceptor. As mentioned in 'Precepting in the Fast Lane: Improving Critical Thinking in New Graduate Nurses' (Sorensen & Yankech, 2008), one study subject stated their biggest concern was "How do I teach?" (para. 36). After attending a preceptor training session, participants described a better understanding of the learning process and provided examples of questions they now present to their preceptees to help guide their learning experience, such as "How can I explain this or help you understand this better?" (Sorensen & Yankech, 2008. para. 39). More areas to be covered in these programs can include such topics as conflict resolution, effective communication skills, evaluating progress and giving feedback. Even after a training session questions can arise, in which case preceptors can turn to online communities such as the Southern Alberta Collaborative: Centralized Preceptor Education Project ( featuring nursing instructors and preceptors available to help guide and advice other preceptors. (Kristi)sidebar_23.jpg

Preceptorship training involving instructors guiding undergraduate students in unpredictable, complex and often chaotic environments holds various beneficial outcomes and effects on the preceptors themselves. Many preceptors were afraid of their inability to properly teach future nurses, yet throughout the course of the program they noticed an improvement in various skill categories such as conflict resolution, communication skills and teamwork (Sorensen & Yankech). In general, the relationship established between preceptors and nurses intended to teach the undergraduate students has a positive effect on both parties. The preceptorship experience provides the preceptor along with the student with further developed skills required in the field they are working in. (Lioudmyla)

There are numerous studies to prove that a preceptor-facilitated orientation program assisted in evolving into a higher learning process. But there is no fixed curriculum for a preceptor. The Southern Alberta Collaborative: Centralized Preceptor Education Project ( is an important step of acknowledgement in recognizing the accountability and wisdom that these leaders embrace in preserving the ideals of best practice and keeping the center of nursing alive. The amount and depth of preceptors' content knowledge is an important facet in the teaching relationships of preceptors and preceptees and should be addressed to maintain the highest level of nursing. (Anisa)

For additional information on precepting, please visit
A helpful online community of instructors and preceptors


Paton, B., & Binding, L. (2009). Keeping the Center of Nursing Alive: A Framework for Preceptor Discernment and Accountability. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 40(3), 115-20. Retrieved from

Sorensen, H., & Yankech, L. (2008). Precepting in the Fast Lane: Improving Critical Thinking in New Graduate Nurses. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 39(5), 208-216. Retrieved from

Yonge, O., Hagler, P., Cox, C., & Drefs, S. (2008). Listen to Preceptors. Jounral for Nurses in Staff Development : Part B, 24(1), 21-26. Retrieved from

Figure 1. Online image (n.d.) Retrieved from

Figure 2. Online image (n.d.) Retrieved from

Your Preceptor Has Fears, Too. (n.d.) [video file] Retrieved from and

  • Project Lead - Kristi * Editor - Anisa * Design - Nicole * Multimedia - Lioudmyla *