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Everything you need to know about preceptorship

Through preceptoriship your employer can help you transform from student nurse to staff nurse …

“I keep being told that I should ask about the preceptorship scheme,” says Camilla Smith, third year student nurse. “But to be honest, I don’t even know what makes a good preceptorship and what makes a bad one.”

Sound familiar?

If a role is available for a newly qualified nurse then the NMC states that there should be a procedure in place to help ease them safely into the role of a nurse. This tends to be known as a “preceptorship”.

Every workplace is different in how they go about preceptorship but newly qualified nurses tend to be referred to as being “on preceptorship” during their first six months to a year.

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This involves you being assigned a “preceptor” to help show you the ropes and offer support. Many workplaces also give a new nurse a period of time working supernumerary while they find their feet.

You may be given a pack containing information about the ward and letting you know what you need to do in order to pass your preceptorship. This is to give you the chance to carry out tasks under supervision that you might not have been able to do as a student.

Once your preceptor and manager feel you have achieved everything you need to to pass your preceptorship you will be able to move up your first pay increment.

In your interview, you could ask:

  • Do newly qualified nurses on your ward work supernumerary initially? If yes, for how long?
  • If I were to be offered the job, would I be assigned a preceptor?
  • Do you provide a preceptorship pack?

Although it may seem like extra work, your preceptorship can really help build your confidence.

It encourages you to reflect on how you are doing, both by yourself and with your preceptor and acts as building block between the role you had as a student and the role you have now as a nurse.

Readers' comments (3)

  • I feel that the quality of preceptorship is very variable so it is wise to ask. I am newly qualified and have no specific preceptor, I do not feel supported and there is no preceptorship pack which I felt I needed as I was not confident about my ability as a student. It's been difficult finding my own way.

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  • I'm a newly qualified nurse and have been assigned a preceptor & supernumeracy for 1 month and work earlies for the 1st week (as opposed to the standard long day) to ease me into the role of the RGN. It is difficult starting out as a newly qualified & confidence can dwindle between the 3rd placement, gaining registration and starting your very first job.

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  • bill whitehead

    Good advice Fran. Our recent research backs up the necessity for a good well supported preceptorship.

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