As a nursing educator, you’re likely to spend a lot of time thinking about how to get your students ready for the real world. While having them read textbooks and complete assignments are important parts of this process, they aren’t everything. Many new nurses don’t realize that they will be working closely with a preceptor — a more experienced nurse who coaches them throughout their first few months on the job.
The preceptor’s job is to provide guidance and mentorship as new nurses learn how to handle patient care under tight time constraints, work with other healthcare professionals and navigate workplace politics.
A preceptor is a nurse with experience in the field and is considered an expert. The preceptor will work with new nurses to ensure that they can perform their duties and meet certain standards of care. The preceptor acts as a mentor to new nurses, helping them learn how to provide patient care safely and effectively.
Once you’ve decided to become a preceptor, your next step is to decide where you want to work. Most preceptors work in hospitals and clinics, but it is not uncommon for them to be found in other healthcare settings. For example:
- Some preceptors specialize in working with patients who have special needs or disabilities. They may teach nursing students how to handle cases such as patient falls or bed sores.
- Other preceptors may be found in rural or remote regions with no hospitals or clinics nearby. These areas might only have a few doctors and nurses who must handle all medical emergencies independently without assistance from others nearby.
There is a high demand for nursing preceptors, but how do you become one? First, you will need to be licensed as a nurse in the state where you want to precept. The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) has a website that can help you find out more about getting started. You may also look to enroll on an accredited online nursing program at a reputable univeristy such as Walsh in North Canton, Ohio. You’ll also need at least one year of practice in the field you want to teach. Additionally, it is important to understand what your role will be and how it will differ from other nursing roles.
There are several benefits to becoming a nursing preceptor, including:
Nursing is an ever-changing field, and nurses must keep up with current trends and changes to provide the best care possible. Being a preceptor allows you to stay current while providing valuable information that can be passed on to new graduates.
It’s a great way to give back after all you’ve been given as a nurse. Many of us have had mentors who changed our lives or helped us achieve our goals. By becoming a preceptor, you’re giving back that same support so future generations will benefit from having someone there for them as well.
You’ll develop new skills by teaching students how things are done in real-life situations rather than just memorizing facts from books. These skills may come in handy later on down the road when dealing with patients yourself.
Being a preceptor is an excellent way to build your resume and gain experience in your field. You can use this time to further develop your skills, learn new things and meet new people. It’s also a great way to network and connect with other professionals in your field.
One of the benefits of being a mentor is that it helps you stay on top of your own credential renewal requirements. This is required by the board of nursing in many states, but it can be difficult to fulfill the hours you need to log every year if you don’t take on new mentees.
Preceptors are not just there to teach their students; they need to understand what the nursing students need and how they can provide it. This can pose some challenges, including:
- Understanding what each student wants out of the experience
- Being able to communicate clearly with students about their needs, expectations and concerns
- Finding time in your schedule for both teaching and mentoring
Here are some traits that make a great preceptor:
When working with a student, it’s important to be patient. If you get frustrated easily or find yourself yelling at them too much, it can be detrimental to their learning experience.
Being kind to your students allows them to trust you and want to work hard for you, which will help them learn more.
Empathy is important because it lets your students know they’re not alone in their struggles with the material or their personal life outside of school. If they feel like they’re being judged or talked down to because of their failures, they’ll have less motivation to improve themselves.
A great preceptor has excellent communication skills. You should be able to explain your expectations clearly so that your student can understand what they need to do to achieve them. It’s also important for you as a preceptor to listen attentively and appropriately respond when students have questions or concerns.
The learner is expected to demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge and skills in practice. This includes their ability to apply what they have learned in the classroom and on clinical rotations. In addition, learners should demonstrate their ability to use critical thinking skills when dealing with patients.
Critical thinking is an important skill for nurses because it helps them make informed decisions about patient care plans based on new research findings or technological advancements, such as new medications.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what it means to be a nursing preceptor. The role is challenging and rewarding, but most importantly, it’s worth it.
This is an exciting time in the nursing industry, with new technologies and innovations coming out every day that can improve patient outcomes. As we’ve discussed above, being a good preceptor takes practice. If you’re up for the challenge, we think you’ll find this exciting new opportunity rewarding both personally and professionally.