Preceptors looking for someone to interview.

  1. Hi to all!

    I have to write a paper about the relationship between having a preceptor, and being a preceptor. Would any of you mind helping me? I need an interview for the paper. *sigh*

    I am trying to kill multiple birds with one stone. I graduate this Dec., and I already have a job lined up in a NICU. I would like your perspectives for both my paper, and my new job experience.

    If you don't mind helping me, the questions that I have, are:

    1. What do you like about being a preceptor?
    2. What do they do that you like?
    3. What do they do that you don't like?
    4. Have you ever experienced the "Nurses eat their young" phenomenon?
    5. How long do you believe a "proper" internship in a NICU should be?
    6. Do you become attached to your "charges"?

    :bowingpur Thanks a bunch,

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    About travel920

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 36; Likes: 1


  3. by   Jokerhill
    I am not sure I'm the one you want, but here goes.
    1. and 2. I enjoy being a preceptor because I want the newbe to do my job. I'm tiered and getting older and if I don't get them trained and trained well I can never get a rest. I can't be there to start all the IV's, do the Art sticks, and do all the admits everyday every shift. So what I am saying I want them to do well and am proud when they do, then I take a day off.
    3. I don't like it when they wont try to do a new skill, I think they can do.
    4. Yes, I do it all the time. I want them to think on their own and the only way sometimes is to push them a bit. When they figure out that I was right with them the whole time in support of them they are proud of what they did and can see they figured it out on their own and then we sit and talk about it. They all believe they were on the highwire alone but I'm there with a net if they need it.
    5. 8-10 weeks experanced RN and 16 weeks New grad Half in stepdown and the other with vents. It may be broken into halves so they can do a few weeks on their own in feeder/ grower land before moveing on.
    6. I can't help it it seems to turn more into a mentorship after a while, and some even bring me their home problems as well.

    It takes some meconium along with the water and love to grow a rose.
    Last edit by Jokerhill on Nov 14, '06
  4. by   lencialoo
    hi travel920,

    i can answer some of your questions from the "preceptee" point of view, i'm a new grad in training for the nicu and am 1/2 way through my level 2 training. i have had 3 different preceptors (1 excellent, 1 good and 1 bad):

    1. what do you like about a preceptor?
    i can tell you that i learn best from a preceptor that is patient and kind. i dont mind it if they ask me alot of questions or push me either.

    2. what do they do that you like?
    i have heard that it takes 6-10 times to learn a task well and feel comfortable so here again being patient is a virtue. i love it when they give "tips" about how to improve procedures or my time management and find these invaluable.

    3. what do they do that you don't like?
    i dont like it when a preceptor points it out how stupid you are...this does happen. it's also hard to work with a preceptor that is a gossip (you always wonder what they are saying about you behind your back too).

    4. have you ever experienced the "nurses eat their young" phenomenon?
    i have experience this with 1 preceptor, no-one can learn well in an environment that is hostile and where a preceptor makes you feel's a self-fulling prophecy. i endured this for 2 weeks before saying anything because i wanted to give the preceptor a fair shake but things just got worse and i was thinking of quitting (only thinking) but it sure does give you a bad hit to your self-esteem when you have a mis-match. the worse part is when the preceptor gossips and everyone else knows all the's very hard to live this down. i wasnt aware that grown nurses travel in clicks like high school girls.

    5. how long do you believe a "proper" internship in a nicu should be?
    the total internship is 20 weeks of preceptorship + classes and then another 20 weeks of taking your own assignment with another nurses help in the next pod. the level 2 and level 3 are split up.

    6. do you become attached to your "preceptor"?
    yes, when you have an excellent preceptor who loves teaching and is kind, patient and really wants to help you learn to be your best you owe that person a debt of gratitude. my first preceptor gave me the very best start and i will always appreciate her kindness toward me, she made me feel like i was truely her friend and i knew i could trust her to teach me all that she could to help me be my best.

    there are so many nicu nurses out there who do such a wonderful job of precepting, we owe them our "thanks" because they are invaluable to our learning and to the future care of these special babies. for those who prefer not to precept, please be kind enough to say "no", those of use who are preceptees will thank you for that too. not everyone is mature enough or meant to be a preceptor and that is okay, this doesnt say anything about your ability to be a great nicu nurse.

    hope this helps your interview. :zzzzz

  5. by   travel920
    Thanks for the posts.

    Jokerhill, I hope that I get someone just like you for my preceptor! I can take being cut away from the apron strings, what I couldn't handle is someone being hateful.

    Lencialoo, sister, what did you do to get a different preceptor? That is what I am the most afraid of, someone being mean and hateful.

    I am good with well babies, and feel confident and comfortable with my assessments and care. Sick babies are a whole new world for me.

    Some of my concerns are: am I going to be laughed at for being akward? Are they going to get tired of me asking why? Can I learn it all in 16 weeks, enough to be competent?

    Thanks guys, you made me feel better knowing that I'm not alone.

  6. by   RainDreamer
    Here's just some of my thoughts, as a preceptee:

    I just want to say to all of you that precept .......... you are awesome and thank you!!

    I obviously haven't precepted, as I'm brand new. But I just got off orientation about 4 months ago. I had the most wonderful preceptor, I couldn't have asked for anyone better.

    She was extremely patient with me. She led me and helped when I needed it, but she let me do things my way for the most part, which was great. I had preceptors in the past that were so anal about doing things their way (which is fine .... I know a lot of people are like this) and that really hinders the whole learning experience.

    I totally agree with giving praise. There were some nights when I was on orientation that were just chaotic and I felt like I did a so-so job ...... I felt like I didn't do the greatest. I felt a lot like what Jokerhill described in #4. My preceptor would push me and really challenge me, I thought she was thinking I was an idiot that couldn't handle it all! But at the end of the shift, she would tell me I did great. As insignificant as that sounds, it means THE WORLD! It gave me the confidence and the encouragment to come back the next night, even if I was in tears and nervous to death about it ...... it helped to keep me going.

    Preceptors also have to step back and just let them do things on their own. I know that has to be hard, because you want to make sure it gets done and gets done right. There were times when my preceptor would say "Ok, you need to do XY and Z, I'll be back in a minute but if you need any help so and so is here so just ask". Then she'd step out for a minute and it kinda forced me to do things. I never did anything I was uncomfortable with, but sometimes when she was in there watching me, I kinda second-guessed myself and would ask for more help than I really needed. So when she stepped out it kinda forced me to do it. She KNEW I could do it, and she felt safe with allowing me to do it, otherwise she wouldn't let me. It's almost like she had more confidence in me than I had in myself. And seeing that confidence in her, gave me the confidence in myself. If that makes any sense whatsoever, lol.

    Also, she let me make my own mistakes. That has to be tough too, but it helped me SO MUCH! I remember one time I totally forgot to do the lab draws in the morning until the very last minute. She knew about it the whole time and mentioned it to me at the end of the shift. I was freaking out and wondering why she didn't say anything!! But I made the mistake. And you know what? I NEVER forget lab draws anymore! It helps to learn from your own mistakes. So it's ok for them to let their preceptee make mistakes (within reason ...... as long as the patient isn't harmed).

    I can't imagine how incredibly hard it is to precept someone. I know you have to have patience and understanding ..... and that can be hard especially when you're under stress while working. I think some people are just not cut out for it, and that's ok. But don't precept someone if you don't want to, because no one wins in that situation.

    I had a 12-week orientation into the NICU (Level III + ECMO). I got experience with a ton of different things, but it definitely wasn't enough time to learn everything obviously. I still ask questions all the time and everyone is extremely supportive of me. I do still have a pretty strong bond with my preceptor ..... I know I can go to her for anything at all, as I can also go to anyone else on my unit.

    Our educators told us at the very beginning that if we ever felt like we needed a different preceptor than just go to them and tell them, then they would hook us up with someone else. They understood that some people just don't "mesh".

    You should see how often I ask questions, even after being off orientation and on my own for a few months now. No one has EVER laughed at me. Please don't be afraid to ask questions. I can almost guarantee that it's a question they've heard before ..... and even if it's not, they won't care, they'll want to help you out. They won't get tired of being asked questions. Even the nurses that have been there for 20+ years still ask questions! And I don't see them getting tired of it after 20 years, so they definitely won't get tired of you (someone new) asking a ton of questions!

    And I don't say this to scare you, but it's just reality. You won't learn everything in 16 weeks, and when you're done with orientation you won't feel competent. You will learn A LOT during your orientation. One of my educators told me that when you're done with orientation all you need to know how to do is a "good assessment". You have to know how to asses and report when something is wrong. And that's basically it. There are a ton of skills that I still don't know how to do. But if it ever comes to the point where they write an order for a skill that I'm not familiar or comfortable doing ...... then I'll just ask for help.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by RainDreamer on Nov 14, '06
  7. by   BittyBabyGrower
    1. What do you like about being a preceptor?

    I like teaching and I like to pass on the latest updates in the literature.

    2. What do they do that you like?

    They as in me or the student? I like an orienter that listens to me, doesn't contraindicate me when they have NO clue what they are talking about, that takes the initiative to read their core book as they are supposed to, look up things conditions/etc about babies we are taking care of (I can't teach you every single thing there is to have to take some responsibiltiy also!). You also have to be able to go with the flow....things change fast sometimes and we may have to help out if we have an easy assignment and the whole unit is going postal....don't say to me....I don't want to or I can't. Yes you will and can, if I didn't think we could I wouldn't tell you we were. You need to tell me if you don't understand something, especially with drips and meds...I can't help you on your test at the end of orientation.

    3. What do they do that you don't like?

    See above...I mashed it all together.

    4. Have you ever experienced the "Nurses eat their young" phenomenon?

    Not in my unit...we are very supportive. If someone has an issue with something you did and you need to be spoken to about it, it will be taken care of right then and there with the unit manager. We don't dog people or give them crappy assignments. We're pretty protective in our unit.

    5. How long do you believe a "proper" internship in a NICU should be?

    We give 12 weeks. Most people do perfectly fine with this, if they need an extra week or two we extend it. By 12 weeks though, we can tell if you are going to make it or not.

    6. Do you become attached to your "charges"?

    I like almost everyone. Our preceptor group is very protective of new people and we intervene when neccesary. Our new people always have a resource person for the first 2 months off orientation. They are teamed with someone for critical and admits, meaning, we are in the room with them with a lighter assignment so we can help them. Our new people do not float for 6 months and can not be canceled during that time also so that they don't miss out. But if you are one of those hotshot knowitall kinds, we kind of let you loose with a couple of the "well seasoned" nurses who will chop you down a few pegs if the need be. Being over confident and knowitall can lead to very large mistakes.
  8. by   lencialoo

    Our Educational Coordinator meets with us regularly to see how things are going on with our learning and with preceptors and she believes that a mismatch puts learning way behind. I just honestly told her I was feeling really stupid with this preceptor and feeling so sick before coming in to work that I thought I would puke. I gave it a fair shake before I said anything but I was wondering myself how I was going to get through 10 weeks of that situation. My Coordinator made the decision to change me that day....needless to say she is very awesome...she is a wonderful NICU nurse herself and a great educator and negotiates for us ALL the time to try to make this experience the best it can be....there is no replacement for the Education Coordinator in training. The only downside is that this nurse wont even look my way now and I'm trying to figure out how to approach her to patch things up. It was one of my worst worries about saying anything....any suggestions from folks to help me approach her would be appreciated....I'm not so good with stuff like that.

    Also to all the preceptors who take time to teach...I want you all to know you are so appreciated !! Your work is not rewarded enough but it is sooo valuable to the NICU babies/families etc.

    Take care,