Precepting Tips

Nurses General Nursing


My hospital does not offer any training on how to be a good preceptor. I've precepted a couple times, but I feel I need some guidance on how to do it well. Any tips? Thanks!

My hospital does not offer any training on how to be a good preceptor. I've precepted a couple times, but I feel I need some guidance on how to do it well. Any tips? Thanks!

I ask the preceptee what they feel they need to focus on, how they learn best, etc. That's always the best way to start in my mind ...then I create more of a flexible plan when I get the answers.

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant.

Also, talk to your manager/educator. What is the expected length of orientation? When should the orientee be taking 1, then 2, then 3, etc. patients? When should they have an entire assignment for themselves? See if you can have a regular meeting (each week?) with your orientee and your NM/educator to discuss the orientee's progress, strengths/weaknesses, and what you need to focus on.

Thanks for the tips!

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Give plenty of feedback and have patience :)

Specializes in Hematology-oncology.

The above tips are great. Know the experience and background of your orientee. The expected orientation schedule of a new grad is much different than that of an experienced nurse (16 weeks vs. 8 weeks at my employer). There's also a difference between a new grad who was a PCA in the hospital (knows much of the charting and some policies) vs. a new grad from a different background.

Your approach will also vary greatly based on your practice area. The guidelines in med-surg will vary greatly from an ICU, ER, or specialty area such as bone marrow transplant for example. I personally work on a hematology floor. Most of our patients are fairly stable, but we do have intermediate care patients, and sometimes have 1:1 patients who are getting stage 1 clinical trials.

I closely follow my orientee during the first 1-2 weeks. I give them 1 stable, non-complex patient the first day, and then slowly adjust from there based on their performance, time management, and comfort level. I try to find a balance where they feel somewhat challenged every day as their skills grow, but I also strive to avoid setting them up for failure. There will be times where you think your orientee can handle an assignment but things head south. In those cases I jump in quickly, help them prioritize, get caught up, and then review together at the end of the day.

Even towards the end when the orientee is almost independent, I review orders/labs/meds/charting frequently, round on the patients we are assigned to make sure they are alright, and check in with the orientee at set points. Being available and approachable is very important.

Orientees (especially new grad ones) are generally very task oriented. This is expected. I do try to help them see the big picture as time allows, and constantly look for learning opportunities.

Finally, see if you can find online CEs for adult learning or assertive communication/constructive feedback type articles or videos. I try very hard to phrase all my feedback in the "I" format. So saying something like "I would probably do..." vs. "You should do..." or "You should have done...."is generally perceived better by the learner. Best of luck!!!

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

There are lots of nursing books about how to precept. Maybe you should buy one and read up on it.

+ Add a Comment