The scoop on Practicums or Preceptorships

  1. I am guessing that these are the same things....Do you always get to pick what area you precept in? Or is it a "pick from one of these three choices" type of a thing?

    Can you do ER, ICU, peds and OB for this time? It seems like it is always on a med surg type floor....WHAT WERE YOUR CHOICES???

    How long does a preceptorship last (i am guessing one semester)? Are you randomly assigned to a nurse (and his or her hours)?

    I know this varies from school to school, but I just wanna get some idea of what to expect.

    Also, how much time do you have between your last clinicals and classes until you take the NCLEX?
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    About ER1010

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 93; Likes: 1
    L&D Nurse

    10 Comments

  3. by   hippienurse
    They are not the same thing.

    Clinicals/Practicum is when, during your Nursing education, you spend time in a clinical setting with an instructor guiding you (as well as the primary nurse of the patient you are dealing with)

    A preceptorship is, when you start your first nursing job, you have a "mentor" for a period of time (depends on the facility, but can be 6 months or more) where they are there to guide you and help you learn the ropes. You can also work straight out of school (in my state, anyway) as a nurse, with a preceptor, until you get your license.

    And taking the test, it depends on when there is testing scheduled and you can get there and take it...
  4. by   Blackbird
    My course guide describes a Preceptor as an assessor on practicum. Difference in countries, I 'spose...
    *shrugs*
  5. by   LeesieBug
    We do an eight week run during our senior year with a preceptor (a nurse working in the selected field). We write up out top three picks, ANY area, and they try to place us in our first choice area. I have heard that MOST people at our school get their first choice.

    Students are assigned to a nurse, and work their shift with them. Most people I've spoken with did about 30 hours a week with their nurse.

    Practicum, in my neck of the woods, means the clinical learning time associated with your different courses.
    Last edit by LeesieBug on Jan 21, '05
  6. by   klone
    Our preceptorship only lasts about 4 weeks. It's during the last month of the semester. Like others, you choose which area you want and you're assigned to an RN (who has volunteered to be a preceptor and goes through special training/class for preceptors) and you work his/her hours. My understanding was that it was fulltime (36 hours/week).
  7. by   jenrninmi
    Looks like a lot of schools are different. With my preceptorship it lasts about 6 weeks (110 hours) during our last semester. Unfortunately we don't get to choose where ours will be. I was originally placed in an ED but it is not really a place I'd be interested in working, although I would have been happy with it if I had to stay with it. I sent an e-mail around to the students that were placed in L & D and asked if they were interested in switching with me and thankfully someone was. I am THRILLED to be placed in L & D since this is where I want to be - the reason I decided to go into nursing in the first place. Hope this helps!
  8. by   helpinghands
    My preceptorship is during the last 6 weeks of the last semester. You are assigned 1 nurse that you work with during the entire time. We are required to work 12 12hour shifts, and by the end we are expected to be doing 90% of the nurses work.
  9. by   wonderbee
    Quote from helpinghands
    My preceptorship is during the last 6 weeks of the last semester. You are assigned 1 nurse that you work with during the entire time. We are required to work 12 12hour shifts, and by the end we are expected to be doing 90% of the nurses work.
    Ditto. I'd like to add that we do not necessarily get our first choice for specialty. Our 4th semester students are given a CAP test during the first week of class. The order of choice goes in order of how well one scores on the exam.
  10. by   fry.girl
    Because I am a doing a web-based ASN program (Deaconess), I do all my clinicals the way most students do a preceptorship. All my clinical hours are done under the direct supervision of a preceptor (RN with at least 2 years experience). My preceptor communicates my progress to my nursing instructor by email or phone conversation. My preceptor changes as I rotate from one department to the next through the program.

    Cheri
  11. by   Altra
    Quote from helpinghands
    My preceptorship is during the last 6 weeks of the last semester. You are assigned 1 nurse that you work with during the entire time. We are required to work 12 12hour shifts, and by the end we are expected to be doing 90% of the nurses work.

    This is how it works at my school also. It's the clinical component of our nursing leadership/trends course. Ideally, you stick with one preceptor although that doesn't always work - with vacations, illness, etc. We will work 135 hours within a 3-1/2 week period (no class during this time).

    We are asked for our top 3 choices of units at each of our 2 different hospitals. An effort is made to put you where you want to be, but there's no guarantee. All the choices are general med-surg, cardio-pulmonary or telemetry units, although if you have a strong interest in L&D, ED, maternity or ICU you may get to spend a day or two there.

    This is how it's been explained: for the first day or so, we shadow the RN -- then for the rest of the time, the RN shadows US.
  12. by   PennyLane
    We did 180 hours at my school. We chose what area we wanted, and also tried hard to get us into our first choice hospital. Ideally you worked with one nurse, but a couple people had 2 nurses due to scheduling problems.

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