Preceptorship

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    Tis the season to start figuring out where I want to precept! The problem is, any unit that I have come to enjoy during my clinical times is not an area where we are "allowed" to precept in (i.e. OB, OR, Peds). My school's rationale for this is that the NCLEX is more acute-care focused, and as such so our preceptorships will be. I was also told that areas like OR, OB, and peds require more advanced training, yet we are allowed to precept in the ICU...hmmm.

    I am limited to Medsurg, tele, ICU, cardiac step-down, and the ER for precepting. Unfortunately, the majority of nurses on these units in the hospital where my clinicals are at just aren't at all receptive to having students, so my clinical experience on these units hasn't been particularly enjoyable (even though I am the type that hounds them for things to do and watches call lights like a hawk).

    My questions for RN's and students alike are:
    Where does/did your school allow you to precept?
    Did they allow students to apply for areas that aren't commonly used and make decisions on a case by case basis?
    Any recommendations for me on which unit is most likely to provide the best experiences that will aid me as a new grad?

    I hope I don't sound like a whining student because that's not my objective! I honestly want to make the best of my preceptorship where ever I end up.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    Thats unusual. My school allows all of the specialty granted that the hospital is willing to accommodate students. Anyways, just a piece of advice, choose the floor/specialty where you want to work after you graduate because your experience in preceptorship makes a lot of difference!
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    My school was the same. However, I was allowed to precept on Mother/Baby.
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    Any place you can precept will most likely provide a great experience in the long run. I precepted in Oncology...my advice is to embrace where you are and get the most from it. I'm a home health nurse, but grabbed a lot of experience in my preceptorship (a great preceptor makes the difference!!) - Good luck and God bless your nursing career!
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    The only nursing areas in which my school didn't allow us to precept were public health and psych nursing. Other than that, it was pretty much any specialty where they could get spots for us. I did my preceptorship in NICU, as did 4 other students in my program (at least 3 of whom are now working in NICUs). We had several in EDs, several in ICUs or step down units, and 2 in peds. We had several in L&D (most of whom went on to become L&D nurses). I think we had one in oncology. And of course we did have quite a few in Med/Surg. None in OR that I know of.

    Your nursing school should keep in mind that the ultimate goal of your education is not to pass the NCLEX, but to be a working nurse, hopefully in the specialty of your choice! Sure, passing the NCLEX is a necessary hurdle, but it's not the ONLY goal of nursing school -- and I'm not so sure that what one learns in a preceptorship is all that useful on the NCLEX anyway. Mostly what you learn in your preceptorship is how wide the gap is between the real world of nursing and the NCLEX fantasy hospital.

    Best of luck to you!
    Heather2014 likes this.
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    We only had the option of ICU (only one spot- a girl who worked at the hospital got it), tele, med-surg/onc, med-surg (mostly post-ops) and AOU (stepdown). These restrictions were mostly due to the hospital's limited supply of staff members who were eligible/willing to precept, that weren't already precepting for another school or orienting new hires.

    I was super bummed that I didn't have the opportunity to go to ICU, especially because that is where I definitely want to work and I know that a preceptorship in ICU looks very good for getting hired. However, I told my instructor to pair me with someone who she thought would give me the best learning experience and best personality fit- it's been AWESOME so far!

    It's hard to suggest an area for you, not knowing anything about your areas of interest, your level of proficiency with skills, your comfort level with high-stress environments, and what your eventual job goals are. But, I'd say to ask your instructor(s) where he/she/they think you would be a good fit. The time management, basic assessment, and clinical skills that you refine during preceptorship will be no matter what floor you're on. So far I've had a blast, and it's good to get the "flow" of a day as a real RN- assessing pts, getting meds out on time, checking for Dr's orders, insulin, documenting, etc.

    Just my , hope it's helpful!


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