Okay, I am in my practicum now and have a preceptor. She is great so far. I agree that just doing things with them helps time management (as long as you have good time management). Let the student do as many things hands on as possible. If they don't know how, be like "you can watch the first one or two, then you do it". One thing I wish my preceptor would do more of is like let me do whatever needs to be done and her watch, then, give me feedback. Not in a critical sense, but constructive criticism. At the same time, give the student praise for the good things. It's hard being a student around experienced nurses because experienced nurses tend to have their way of doing things, while students are trying to figure out how they want to do things and they tend to be very textbook.
I'll give you an example. Today I had clinical (different from practicum, but still in the hospital), I am very to the book on stuff, if possible. I was giving a medication IV push and I flushed first with 5 cc of NS and gave the medication and then flushed with the rest of the NS after (it was a 10 cc NS flush). We were taught to flush before and after IV pushes plus in between medications that are IV push given at the same time in order to check patency and to prevent incompatibilities. The nurse I was with did it different and only flushed after because earlier in the day, she checked it or something. But, I didn't know that. She at first jumped on me over it, and then I explained the way I was taught. She was more understanding then and actually told me the way I was taught was fine and good practice. Anyway, my point is, even though you have your method of doing something, students tend to be by the book. And I know, I somewhat sought that validation that I was doing the procedure correctly. I felt bad at first when she told me not to do it like that and I started questioning myself. It also causes fear that the student will do something bad to a patient.
Things I have picked up from my preceptor in practicum is pretty much getting a method down. She gets report, then assigns her patients to herself, writes down when meds are due on a sheet of paper, then accuchecks, meds that are due, and assessments are all done at the same time in the morning. The meds are done in three hr increments- like 7-9 am are done at one time (we're allowed and it's the only way we can keep up); the exceptions are like blood sugars/insulin or something to that effect or IVs that are running; somewhere in there are dressing changes and other things that need to be done; charting is done right after she is done with that specific patient (as far as assessing them; we have computers we tote with us); check your orders occasionally, esp. if you see a physician come to the floor; and chart checks, care plan updates, and clearing pumps are end of shift. But, yeah, your little student will learn a lot from observing a method and picking up little things too. By the end, they will probably have an idea of what things you do that they want to incorporate in their nursing and what maybe doesn't work for them.
I also definitely liked having a copy of the papers. That way, I could sit there and say well this is what I would need to keep in mind if I was taking care of this patient without my preceptor. Without papers, I felt like it was okay, here's the medication, give it to them and you don't have the full picture unless you looked at all the charts. Where I am, we have SBAR sheets.
I don't know about anyone else, but as far as medication administration, IVs are my hardest thing to understand. Like showing how to backprime something, working the pumps, even just actually priming an IV bag. I primed my first bag at the beginning of this semester in OB...and I am a senior. Work on the student's difficulties, seriously.
And yes, challenge the student to think on a higher level.