If you wish to advance your career in nursing, then nursing preceptorship may be a good option. Nurse preceptors act as teachers or mentors to new nurses and enable them to learn about their roles and the nursing industry in greater detail. If you wish to become one, then knowing what your job role will be and what nurse preceptors are can help you make the right decision. In this guide, we shall cover everything there is to know about nursing preceptorship fully.
Nurse Preceptor Overview
Nurse preceptors guide new employees, student nurses, or graduate nurses. They are responsible for ultimate patient care, but they can teach new nurses about clinical techniques and methods to ensure they are well-trained and can work independently in the future. A nurse preceptor’s job responsibilities include:
– Offering resources and support during the transitional phase or when nurses enter the workforce.
– Encouraging nurse growth in a clinical setting.
– Creating a workplace that promotes learning and makes nurses feel safe.
– Evaluating student proficiency levels.
– Coordinating with clinical instructors to evaluate student performance.
– Supervising nurses and the care they provide to ensure they use safe practices.
How to Become a Nurse Preceptor?
Nurse preceptors are professional nurses with years of industry experience. They may be looking for advanced careers in the healthcare industry or another field. Many clinics and hospitals offer nurse preceptor education programs to train existing nurses.
Nurses can opt for the training program and study during working hours for a few months. Once complete, they are promoted to a preceptor position. It is also possible to seek preceptor training externally by opting for online courses.
However, ensure you have worked as a staff nurse for at least three years and have a certificate if you wish to apply. Completing a course this way does not guarantee a preceptor role, but it backs up your resume and presents you as a stronger candidate to prospective employers.
Nurse Preceptor Goals
Goals are targets set for new nurses that work with a preceptor. Objectives enable nurses to blend well into the workplace with essential skills. Nurse preceptors use the SMART framework, and each goal is set to be attainable, realistic, timely, specific, and measurable. A framework is essential for creating relevant and meaningful goals for individual nurses in a medical setting. These include:
Boosting Communication With Other Employees
Nurses work alongside patients, physicians, and other nurses, which is why they need to have solid communication skills to convey critical information and answer important questions. Preceptors enable new nurses to build these skills to collaborate with other staff with added confidence. They ensure this by:
– Modeling great employee relationships
– Creating a suitable atmosphere for interaction
– Sharing past nursing experiences
– Offering constructive feedback
Enabling Organizational Skills
A nurse works with several patients daily, so staying organized is essential. Detailed files allow them to stay updated regarding their patients so they can offer the most suitable and unique treatment plan.
Strong organizational skills also allow nurses to practice effective time management. Preceptors can encourage these skills by slowly adding to a new nurse’s workload until they can handle the desired amount. Organizational worksheets, shift reporting, and time management exercises can further help improve efficiency.
Promoting Psychomotor Abilities
Psychomotor abilities include superb hand-eye coordination and quick reactions. Nurses requiring this ability include those that inject medicine through an intravenous drip or those that operate medical machines.A preceptor must encourage practicing these skills until no supervision is required. They can promote psychomotor abilities by:
– Enabling nurses to understand treatment reasoning and rationale.
– Briefing nurses on hospital procedures and policies.
– Assisting new nurses with unfamiliar procedures.
– Slowly reducing supervision durations.
– Reviewing each nurse’s acquired skills.
Providing Medical Knowledge
A preceptor must teach new nurses and brief them regarding the correct medication and their associated conditions or diagnoses. They must ensure new employees have a sound knowledge base for various situations.
Preceptors may act as a surrogate for practice, teach nurses about drug side effects, and quiz newcomers to slowly build this base. It is also a good idea to ask new nurses to create a list of common medicines and their dosages for reference.
Strengthen Critical Thinking
A nurse is expected to act independently and be able to come up with solutions to most daily problems. A doctor or nurse may not always be available, so preceptors need to encourage critical thinking in new students so they can make informed decisions. Critical thinking skills are also necessary for medical condition diagnosis and assessment of symptoms. Preceptors can encourage these skills by:
– Encouraging nurses to obtain additional certification to expand their knowledge base
– Asking new nurses questions regarding their patients when they go on a round
– Inviting nurses to ask questions about topics they are confused about
We have discussed some of the most important goals a nurse preceptor must achieve. However, the above list is not complete, and you can also encourage leadership skills, assertiveness skills, patient education, and organized learning experiences. Most importantly, you will need to act as a role model for your students. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, becoming a nurse preceptor is the right choice.
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