Precepting for New Nursing Educator? Not here!


  • Specializes in surgery/trauma icu, burn icu /neuro icu. Has 7 years experience.
  1. If you function as a nursing educator, how many months of precepting did you receive?

15 members have participated

I have a sneaky suspicion, rather I should say I have a witnessed account of the total lack if preceptorship offered to a new nurse educator hired for a well-known well established nursing program. I digress, its not the program itself that is of focus, its the collective atmosphere of the new nursing educator that I am a disappointed witness.

It is really eye opening and to me a tell-tale sign of how far nursing has come yet how far it hasn't. When I started out as a new bedside nurse I chose my employer because of a new nurse graduate odyssey program (residency) that lasted a year and prepared me for the ICU's. For educators, is the assumption that nurses who are not new nurses but are transitioning to education roles supposed to have it all together?

Is this the equivalent of "throwing them to the wolves?" Are academic institutions regardless of their degree conferring capabilities neglecting the appropriate investment into our most significant contributors? In my observation clinical instructions sometimes function as the "travelers" of academia and there appears to be little-to-some start-up effort in their success but little maintenance to ensure their continued competence and advancement. At any rate educate me, give me feedback, any similar experiences?

Asking for a friend.


14,633 Posts

I've taught as a full-time faculty member in an ADN program (fresh out of grad school) and in a BSN program, and, in both cases, I had access to people I could consult with for any questions I had and got a lot of general support but, apart from the basic "new employee" orientation, no formal "precepting." I was expected to be a self-directed learner and ask for help or advice when I needed or wanted it. I was fine with that.

"Asking for a friend"? Really?

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,748 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.

I was mentored, but not precepted.


151 Posts

I teach clinical only and I got to

shadow another clinical instructor for one day. I was able to ask the clinical director from my school any questions.

Specializes in ER, Med Surg, Ob/Gyn, Clinical teaching. Has 10 years experience.

I was mentored from a 'distance'...with little contact with my mentor. I was never precepted.


10 Posts

Nurse educator positions should be going to nurses with not just formal education but also significant clinical experience. It is a position designed for nurses who are ready to teach others; not those who need instruction themselves. I see the need for direction and help in regards to the organization and methods of teaching, but those entering this role should indeed "have it all together" when it comes to their chosen field of education.

Specializes in Education. Public health. Psych board cert.. Has 39 years experience.

Our program gives you a preceptor partner for one year. This is great support for new faculty and clinical faculty transitioning to full time teaching on campus. I usually precept new nurse faculty every year I am asked. My chair of nursing tells me I am supportive without being a "mother hen". My reward is a working and supportive team of nurse faculty at our campus. This mentorship helps us decrease turn over and improves our overall teaching strengths. Our motto is we refuse to "eat our nursing young"

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Having done academic teaching on and off throughout my career, I have usually been disappointed in the schools lack of understanding about role transitions myself. Yes, faculty members should be "self-directed" and generally experienced. But any time a person transitions from one role to another and/or from one employer to another, there is a need for some support. If you read the Chronicle of Higher Education, you see many articles about the need for new faculty members (in all disciplines) to be mentored in their new jobs. In my experience, many nursing schools have failed to catch on to that fact yet.

New faculty needs are not identical to new grad staff nurse needs -- but there are needs.

Has 38 years experience.

I had been an ICU nurse for 15 years when I applied for a clinical teaching position. As an expert in ICU I felt comfortable passing on my knowledge to others but knew there would be a steep learning curve associated with the change. The BSN program I went to work for as an adjunct was supportive and they suggested I made sure I shadowed a nurse on the floor we were going to but they assumed that I had no other needs. Sure I was intimidated but as a surgical ICU nurse I was well aware of the grilling that surgical residents got each day from attendings so I thought, 'Hey, I can start off by treating nursing students like surgical residents until I get more experience and become comfortable with the process". Fortunately for me it worked out; I became more comfortable with initiating dialogues with students, I networked and gained the trust of nursing staff around me and I talked with other instructors about what to do during lulls in activity. I now consider my self an expert to some degree with teaching students how to think. Our school now has 2 paid nurses who are available for support of all kinds in the clinical role.

Specializes in Geriatrics, Transplant, Education. Has 15 years experience.

Agreed. I became an educator with seven years of full time nursing experience & a MSN in Education. I had extensive experience precepting senior nursing students and orienting new staff. No one precepted me when I taught my first clinical. I had your standard new employee orientation and was basically on my own with guidance from my mentor. The needs of a new educator are much different and you should more or less have your act together when seeking a clinical instructor role.

Bumex, DNP, NP

1 Article; 384 Posts

Specializes in Assistant Professor, Nephrology, Internal Medicine. Has 13 years experience.

I was also mentored and did not have a preceptorship. Luckily my mentor was actually my closest professor from nursing school whom still worked at the school I now teach (and was taught at). I feel like my mentoring experience was great, but I feel I lucked out in a sense due to a great working relationship. I know others at similar institutions whom have not had nearly anything in terms of mentoring or precepting.

Has 38 years experience.

One of the variables contributing to this lack of formal mentorship is the fact that over half of the clinical staff may be part time. How do you provide a preceptorship for 50 nurses with various jobs, home lives and all the other "life things"? Faculty meetings try to address the gaps but that only works if you can make it. Our College has a dedicated "staff liason" who assists new hires and tries to visit each clincal site each quarter but then again it's kinda hit or miss.