Precepting can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Strategies and techniques for success and pitfalls to avoid may assist in achieving a mutually satisfying experience for both the preceptor and student alike.

Preceptors are encouraged to keep open communication with the coordinating nursing faculty. These faculty members are available to orient preceptors to course outcomes, student expectations, as well as the evaluation process.

Gaining Insight

Gaining insight into the student's reasoning and information processing is key to facilitating student progress toward the attainment of course outcomes. Some ways of achieving this are:

  • Assess the student's knowledge: ask "What do you think is going on?"
  • Ask for rationale: "What led you to that conclusion?"

Frequent and Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is information about the student's performance intended to guide their future performance. It should include:

  • Reinforcement of what was done right: "You did a good job of..."
  • What needs to improve: "You need more detail in your HPI..."
  • What to do next time: "Next time this happens, try this..."

Preceptor Pitfalls

  • "Taking over" for the student
  • Giving inappropriate lectures
  • Giving insufficient time to respond to questions; 3-5 seconds is recommended
  • Expecting pre-programmed responses
  • Giving rapid feedback that shuts down the student's thinking
  • Pushing past the student's ability

Explore the Department
of Nursing & Health

Faces & Places