Clinical Education,  Nursing School,  Student Nurse,  Undergraduate Education

How To Succeed At Preceptorship (without even trying).

….guys. I’m kidding. You have to try. But I may have just tricked you into becoming a better nurse and that’s basically the WHOLE POINT of this blog to begin with.

So let me lay this out for you. I have had a lot of students. A lot. And there are a few things that sets good students apart from mediocre ones. I can usually tell within the first few hours or so who is going to impress me and who I am going to have to work with a bit more to be successful. So let’s get at ‘er.

  1. Be professional. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t talk about my patients behind their backs – my patients are like my kids, I don’t wanna hear anyone talking smack about them.
  2. Be present. DON’T PULL OUT YOUR PHONE when there is downtime. Your adoring public can wait. When you are on your final practicum or your preceptorship you are in a unique position to put everything you have learned into practice while under the tutelage of a more senior professional. Use this time wisely to pick the brain of your preceptor, or their colleagues. You never know what you will learn when you check in.
  3. Fake it till you make it. I feel like on the surface this is absolutely the worst advice you can ever give to a nursing student. (Please do not read this and then fake a female catheterization. Or worse a MALE catheterization. Good night! How would you even do that?) What I mean to say is, if you find yourself in an area of nursing that may not be your cup of tea, don’t point it out to your preceptor. S/he is working there for a reason and you turning up your nose at the work is not going to be endearing. Try to find something about the area that you enjoy, or take the opportunity to expand your concept of what nursing really ‘looks’ like. When it comes to interacting with your preceptor remember: you are the student, they are the professional and they deserve your respect. Which leads me to my last point….
  4. Be respectful. Your preceptor is sacrificing something to help you learn. That is significant. When I take on students I don’t get paid more. Yes, it is one of my competencies as a professional to educate students, but trust me, it is still a lot of effort. The very least you can do is be attentive, knowledgeable and understanding. And if you show your preceptor respect, then they will show it back to you (and if they don’t…well…that’s for another blog post).

Good luck out there! Where are you going to be doing your preceptorship?

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