Preceptor RN: Tips for a student to make a good impression/ do a good job

Nurses General Nursing


hi hi

i'm a dedicated and hardworking nursing student with some anxiety about my next clinical. i'm just about to start my preceptorship on a neurosurgery unit. does anyone have any tips that would give me a great experience with the unit/my preceptor?

thanks! :)


738 Posts

While each person will have a different experience, one of the things that I have heard over and over again from my preceptors is how much they appreciated me being prepared. Read everything that you can get your hands on and know the basics. Be willing to help others. Be flexible and when the opportunities arise to observe something new, get in there. Be eager and ask questions.

One of things that the nurses I worked with did not like was a student that "knew everything".....You know the ones who whenever they were taught anything acted like it was a review. Big mistake because some nurses are not willing to teach this type of student anything else and they tell each other about these types. Good luck getting any help after that.

Smile, it breaks the ice.

Oh yeah, and try to enjoy the experiences you will have. I wish you all the best!!!!



77 Posts

thank you for the advice!


548 Posts

I agree with the above poster. 1) Show up 10-15 minutes early, 2) Be THOROUGHLY prepared, 3) Be active/helpful & do all the tasks you possibly can (jump in), and 4) Be friendly. Ask carefully formulated questions, but don't bombard the preceptor. Also learn from observation & by listening.

Most important - if you are taught a skill one week, make sure that you read about it & feel competent & able to do it independently for your next week. Preceptors HATE repeating information, and may perceive you as being a slow learner.

Energizer Bunny

1,973 Posts

This is a great thread....keep the ideas coming would you, all you seasoned nurses?

I agree with the above posts. You can overcome your lack of experience and clinical knowledge by a positive attitude. Ask how you could have done something "better" (which the preceptor will interpret as "my way"). Find out the rationales behind MD orders, especially labs. Learn how to interact with family and friends of patients. This takes finesse! Many students focus on skills, but knowledge is what you need at this point. So keep a drug book near by! You will do fine, as you are already planning ahead.

SCmomof3, RN

407 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Subscribing :)


52 Posts

silly question: What is a preceptor?

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

In clinicals a preceptor is an experienced nurse the student follows around and hopefully will be able to learn from.

In orientation after graduation, same thing. If you're lucky you'll have a preceptor who like being a mentor as well.

Good preceptors teach, guide, and give all sorts of tips about the job.


262 Posts

Make a list of 3 goals for the week. Review them with your preceptor and tell him or her that you want to accomplish them. This way the preceptor will see that you want to learn.

Try to do things without your precetor telling you. For instance, if there is a post op patient coming to your floor, tell your nurse that you are going to grab the blood pressure machine. These small things demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

Good luck! I just finished my preceptorship a couple of days ago and it was quite a learning experience. I respect med/surg nurses because I don't think I am cut out for it. Neonatal ICU is where I want to be.


77 Posts

silly question: what is a preceptor?
to respond to momo: a preceptor is a nurse who volunteers/agrees to take on a student nurse (preceptee).. for myself, it is my last clinical rotation before graduation and i have to follow around a preceptor for 23 12-hour shifts and eventually take the preceptors pt. load.. it is a 1:1 learning experience.. hope that made sense?

how much do preceptors make in the us? here in canada they get paid $0.65 extra each hour...

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