What do new nurses look for in a Preceptor?

  1. 0
    What qualities or traits do a new nurse want to see in a preceptor and why? I will be starting my preceptor training soon and really want to know some good ideals.

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  2. 6 Comments...

  3. 2
    An ideal preceptor is someone who...

    -is supportive, approachable, and likes to teach.
    -thinks you could never ask too many questions
    -sets a really good example in how they practice nursing (they don't cut dangerous corners or push the new grad too far too soon), they have really good skills and habits
    - isn't already overburdened in their own workload.
    -gives valuable "insider" tips on nursing skills, time management, how to deal with patients, families, doctors, etc.
    -really loves their job/specialty.
    -Can give constructive criticism without making it sound personal.
    -can keep it real-they remember what it was like to be a new grad and has a distinct appreciation for the significant stress and apprehension of that time at the same time can give good advice about some of the realities of nursing
    -has nothing but the best interests for the new grad and wants to see them excel.

    *This is asking a lot of someone and I wouldn't expect a preceptor to have all of these but as a new grad these would be the absolute ideal qualities that I would love to have in a preceptor. I am so grateful to all the wonderful nurses that serve as preceptors and I hope to one day pay it forward as well!
    VanessaRN and Jonesskky RN like this.
  4. 1
    Quote from jpeters84
    An ideal preceptor is someone who...

    -is supportive, approachable, and likes to teach.
    -thinks you could never ask too many questions
    -sets a really good example in how they practice nursing (they don't cut dangerous corners or push the new grad too far too soon), they have really good skills and habits
    - isn't already overburdened in their own workload.
    -gives valuable "insider" tips on nursing skills, time management, how to deal with patients, families, doctors, etc.
    -really loves their job/specialty.
    -Can give constructive criticism without making it sound personal.
    -can keep it real-they remember what it was like to be a new grad and has a distinct appreciation for the significant stress and apprehension of that time at the same time can give good advice about some of the realities of nursing
    -has nothing but the best interests for the new grad and wants to see them excel.

    *This is asking a lot of someone and I wouldn't expect a preceptor to have all of these but as a new grad these would be the absolute ideal qualities that I would love to have in a preceptor. I am so grateful to all the wonderful nurses that serve as preceptors and I hope to one day pay it forward as well!
    I agree with all of the above and will also add:

    - someone that is even-keeled, even in stressful moments. Nothing is worse that having a nurse that is approachable and supportive one day, then moody and unsupportive the next. Adapting to the transition of new grad to experienced nurse is stressful enough....there is no need to have added, unwarranted stress. IMO.
    Jonesskky RN likes this.
  5. 1
    Lots of patience. Although we learned skills in nursing school, it is so much different doing it on a "real" person the first few times.

    Rationales behind the things we are doing. I know nursing is more than skill sets and tasks. That is the biggest thing I struggled with in the beginning. I am finally starting to connect the dots and see the big picture with my patients.

    Introduce your preceptee to the other people on the unit. This is way more important than I ever realized. It is so hard being the new kid on the block, especially in a tight knit unit.

    Constructive criticism and praise when it is deserved. Nothing kills confidence than constantly hearing the negativity..unless the new person is having major issues.

    Allow the nurse to figure out things on their own, within reason. This builds a sense of confidence and strengthens the "nurse brain" as I call it. You know, our ability to store tons of facts in our brains at once.

    Lead by example!

    Please do not yell, demean, or show anger towards the new nurse. Yes, this happens!

    Be friendly and approachable..this goes a long way. I never felt uncomfortable asking "stupid" questions of my preceptors because they wouldn't judge me for it. Well, maybe they did, but never showed it!
    VanessaRN likes this.
  6. 0
    I had rockin' preceptors for my senior practicum in the ICU. They sought out new learning experiences for me. If someone was in the rotoprone bed, I was shipped over there when they were flipped & he knew they would code. I put in all the OG & NG tubes. I was doing all the IV starts on the floor. I even got to draw an ABG. I loved the experience (others might shy away from it though). Yes it would have been faster if they would have done it themselves, but they taught me, kindly and patiently.

    The only thing I would recommend is to be patient with the school's policies. The school will have policies that go above and beyond what the hospital requires. For example, be patient with 5 minute IV pushes. Trust me. We wish we could slam it in too. We just don't want the patient to code or the nursing instructor to show up at the moment you're walking out the door and leaving us to push it alone when we are only supposed to IV push meds with a preceptor present.
  7. 0
    I'm just about to finish my preceptorship. I lucked out and I have a great preceptor. I think one of the best qualities she has that she knows how to walk that line between giving me a helping hand and letting me fly solo. I know she's there if I need her, but she gives me the freedom I need to find my way of doing things. She also gives me a lot of constructive critcism and tips, which I appreciate. If I do something wrong, I want to know so I can correct it.

    But when it comes right down to it, her best quality is that she is an excellent nurse. She's very knowledgeable and thorough. She doesn't cut corners. She also holds me to this standard and makes me work my best.
  8. 0
    On top of all of the things mentioned above here is what I think made the difference between successful preceptor/student relationship and one that was not so successful/rewarding

    1) When you are about to perform a skill ask your student a) have they done it before b) if they would like to try

    -If they seem uncomfortable let them know that its perfectly fine and that you will show them how to do it this time and next time they can try. The absolute worst thing is when a preceptor makes you feel dumb and/or lazy for being hesitant about trying something for the first time. As you are doing whatever it is, explain the steps and give them some tips that have worked for you or for others. After leaving the room, discuss it, address their questions/concerns, and make them feel like next time they can do it!

    - If they agree to try- try and seem confident in their ability. Some preceptors seemed so nervous about letting me try something, that it just made me nervous and question whether I should be doing this. Before going into the patients room (especially with a newer student) ask if they have any questions/ concerns and get them to go through the steps verbally with you first. Doing this really helps boosts the confidence of both parties- it allows you to correct any mistakes before going into the patients room and makes the student less worried about making one.

    2) Interact!

    I hated when I had preceptors who would surf the web, text message or gossip with/complain to their coworkers when we had some down time. Clinical experience is such a VALUABLE part of our education, and as a preceptor you should work with your student to maximize their learning opportunities. Even if this is just telling them about your nursing experiences, difficult situations you have faced, interesting patient scenarios etc.

    3) Introduce the student to your coworkers

    One of my preceptors did this and always added --and if you are doing anything interesting today or have anything you think she should try let us know! This expanded my opportunities to see new things and practice skills, especially on those days where the patients you are assigned to don't really have much going on. Plus it gave me the opportunity to interact with more people in the field which is always a plus!

    3) Some of my worst clinical experiences were not due to the fact that the preceptor was mean or rude, but because they just never let me try anything! You can be the nicest person on earth, but if you just go about your shift without giving them the opportunity to do anything it makes that time extremely unproductive for the student. Yes, I know as students we can be much less efficient and have potential to make mistakes, but if we never try we will never learn! Obviously you can't be reckless, but don't be overbearing either!

    I could go on and on but here's just a few tips :-)


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