A preceptor is an experienced licensed clinician who supervises and mentors nursing students during their clinical rotations. A preceptor's role is to help students translate theoretical learning to clinical practice.
Preceptors are needed nationwide for all levels of nursing education to educate students enrolled in online nursing programs. Distance nursing students study the didactic portion of their coursework online, then complete their clinical rotation hours in their local community. Wherever you practice, there are likely nursing students who will benefit from your preceptorship.
Preceptor roles for most advanced practice nursing programs are open to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), physician assistants, and physicians. The requirements to become a preceptor vary by program.
Generally, preceptors must have an unencumbered license to practice in the state where the preceptorship will take place. They must also practice in a specialty directly related to the associated clinical rotation.
Aside from having the appropriate credentials and clinical competency, other traits are also necessary. Evidence shows that some of the most important qualities of nursing preceptors are:
- Enthusiasm for teaching
- Ability to offer positive and negative feedback in a constructive way
- Passion for nursing
- Ability to promote autonomy
Preceptors bridge the gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice. They guide students in meeting clinical objectives and delivering safe and quality patient care.
Preceptors educate nursing students through observation and direct instruction. Students are given immediate feedback as well as more formal assessments in the form of written evaluations.
- Bridges the gap between theory and actual practice
- Orients students to practice setting, organizational and institutional policies and key personnel
- Assists students in planning clinical assignments based on course objectives and student-articulated learning needs
- Provides supervision of student on a one-to-one clinical basis until such time as student and preceptor deem direct supervision is no longer necessary
- Provides weekly feedback to students
- Reviews and, as appropriate, co-signs all student documentation in clinical records
- Submits a Student Evaluation Form of the practice experience to the Clinical Faculty Advisor, as requested
- Serves as a role model to nursing students
- Maintains an open line of communication with the student's faculty advisor
With the growing nursing shortage, more clinical preceptors are needed to prepare aspiring nurses. Clinical preceptors are essential to nursing education and rely on the expertise of experienced clinicians like you.
Treating patients as a clinician while filling the role of educator can be a juggling act, but it's also a tremendously rewarding experience.
What Are the Benefits of Being a Preceptor?
Preceptorship benefits all participants: the students, patients and preceptors. Becoming a preceptor will also grow your influence in health care delivery and the nursing profession.
Grow the Nursing Profession
Preceptors play a vital role in solving the nationwide nursing shortage.
One reason why the U.S. lacks nurses is that nursing schools cannot enroll enough students. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, schools are turning away qualified candidates due to a limited number of available preceptors.
Preceptors enable nursing schools to expand student enrollment and play a direct role in growing the nursing profession.
Precepting is a chance to pay forward the dedication of your past preceptors. Preceptors shape nursing students' careers by teaching a new generation of nurses through unique knowledge and experiences.
Develop Your Leadership
Preceptorship is a powerful way to develop leadership:
- Practice greater accountability for health care delivery and outcomes
- Improve your written and oral communication skills
- Organize, manage and delegate tasks
- Gain experience supervising individuals and teams
- Foster collaboration and teamwork
You'll refine your leadership style and skills as you help nursing students navigate patient care.
Reconnect to Your Passion
Working as a clinician is gratifying and sometimes emotionally challenging. Preceptorship is one way to reconnect a passion for health care. Evidence shows that supporting others is an effective way to reduce stress.
A nursing student will bring a new sense of enthusiasm and motivation to the workplace, which can be inspiring. You may also feel reinvigorated by this unique opportunity for professional collaboration.
Enhance Your Resume
Adding the preceptor role to your resume will strengthen your professional experience. Preceptorship demonstrates your willingness to lead, commitment to lifelong learning and dedication to improving health care.
Improve the Quality of Your Practice
Knowledge-sharing during a clinical placement is often mutually beneficial for the student and preceptor.
Explaining your clinical reasoning to students will reinforce your knowledge. Plus, nursing students learn the most up-to-date clinical best practices through their coursework, so you may also learn something new.
Participate as Desired
Precepting is a flexible role in that you can participate on a short- or long-term basis. Depending on the nursing program, students complete multiple clinical placements.
The time you spend precepting varies by rotation and program. That means you can precept as your personal and professional responsibilities allow.
Preceptors Needed at Texas Woman's University
Are you passionate about nursing and educating future nurses? Become a preceptor for the accredited online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) programs at Texas Woman's University.
Texas Woman's University is proud to be one of the top-ranked nursing schools in Texas and nationwide. Our programs develop students as holistic primary care providers. We provide a transformative experience that emphasizes patient well-being, clinical mastery, critical thinking, clinical reasoning and professional growth.
Nursing students at Texas Woman's University are astute and motivated to achieve their fullest potential—98% have passed their licensure exam. Our experienced faculty and staff are equally engaged, helping students reach their highest potential.
We believe students are only as successful as their training. That's why we help them prepare for every aspect of their clinical rotations, including identifying and securing quality sites within their local communities.
Texas Woman's University is currently seeking preceptors nationwide for the following online programs:
- Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP)
We invite you to join us in shaping the next generation of FNPs.