We want to support you in your development and your first steps in your preceptorship.

What is a preceptorship?

The Trust recognises that every employee has a valuable contribution to make towards the overall success of the organisation and the achievement of the mission. We help people reach their potential and live well in their community, and also the Vision, Values and Clinical Governance standards adopted by the organisation.

To enable this to happen, the Trust is committed to developing you through a nursing preceptorship programme.

On this programme as it is acknowledged as good practice those healthcare practitioners

  • at point of entry to the profession,
  • following five years or more away from the profession
  • when undertaking new roles should engage in a period of preceptorship.

You as a Practitioner are autonomous and accountable at the point of entry on the register, however, it has been recognised for some time that there should be a period of Preceptorship post-registration. The NHS (National Health Service), NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) and DH (Department of Health) all refer to Preceptorship as a transition period from healthcare student to accountable practitioner (DH, 2008).

The Department of Health (2010) defines preceptorship as ‘a period of transition for the newly registered practitioner during which time he or she will be supported by a preceptor, to develop their confidence as an autonomous professional, refine skills, values and behaviours and to continue on their journey of life-long learning.’

The purpose of preceptorship is to provide you with a supportive, nurturing professional relationship which assists your development and minimises the risk of you as an inexperienced practitioner – being given responsibilities which are beyond your scope of practice and therefore provides a safer environment for you the novice, their colleagues and the service user.

Preceptorship is not intended to replace local and corporate induction processes, but rather run in parallel with them.

The preceptorship programme includes the following elements as directed by Health Education England (2015):

  • Accountability
  • Career development
  • Communication
  • Dealing with conflict/managing difficult conversations
  • Delivering safe care
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership

The Principles of Preceptorship

  • A preceptee should have a minimum of 2 weeks supernumerary practice on commencement of the programme
  • A named preceptor and co-preceptor will be identified prior to commencement of the programme
  • The preceptee should not take charge of a clinical area whilst they undertake preceptorship unless they have completed the necessary assessment
  • All the formal assessments in the preceptorship programme must be completed.
  • The preceptee will work shadow their preceptor for a minimum of 3 shifts/days per month or 1 -2 days if part time
  • The preceptor/preceptee will meet for 1 hour each week for the 1st month.
  • The preceptor/preceptee will then meet on a monthly basis for formal development meetings
  • Informal meetings can be whenever a meeting is required
  • All meetings must be recorded

Quality improvement

  • Resilience
  • Reflection
  • Safe staffing/raising concerns
  • Team working
  • Medicines management (where relevant

Patient Safety

  • A Culture of safety
  • Risk identification, management and compliance
  • Practice patient-centred care
  • Communication

The registered healthcare professional who acts as preceptor should have had at least 12 months experience within the area of practice that the newly qualified or new to Trust practitioner will be working. The Preceptor should act as a facilitator during the transition period covered by the term “Preceptorship”. They have a responsibility to develop staff who require preceptorships as described above to effectively perform within the standards, objectives and competencies as described in the job description.

There is a duty to provide timely constructive feedback (positive and areas for improvement) and action plan where necessary demonstrating candour and they should act as a role model and be willing to undertake the role and share knowledge and experience.

Normal Learning Cycle of a Preceptorship Programme (HEE, 2015)

illustration of preceptorship plan

Clinical Competencies

These form a large part of the preceptorship programme and identify specific skills relevant within their own clinical areas. These could include:

  • Completion of department-specific competency-based document
  • Use of medical equipment
  • Mandatory Training/updates
  • Completion of role-specific training

The Mandatory Assessments

There are common themes throughout the assessments, but with some differences for the different fields of nursing. There are also different ways in which assessments are performed.
The main ways are;

  •  There are ‘competency’ assessments where a strict process applies, and the preceptor and preceptee agree that the preceptee is competent when the process has been followed
  •  There are assessments in practice, for instance, those of professional behaviour, where the preceptee feels that they have displayed sufficient evidence, and the preceptor agrees that they feel they have adequate evidence to confirm that sufficient evidence has been shown
  •  There are e-Learning opportunities for reflection on and consolidation of knowledge gained when the preceptee was in training. Sometimes additional knowledge is acquired in this way- e-Learning within our organisation can often afford the learner opportunity to reflect on how knowledge fits into the context of the clinical environment, which can be very helpful

By ensuring that the preceptorship process assesses a wide variety of skills in an equally wide variety of ways, it should be possible to make an individualised plan for development that takes into account individual strengths.

Some pieces of work are thought a vital part of preceptorship by senior managers in their respective fields. They are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are both current and valid.

Some of these assessments are common to all fields of nursing, but some others are specific to a particular field. The preceptee and preceptor should agree the most recent mandatory assessments, and access them from the Trust Intranet’s Preceptorship Pages.


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