Preceptorship: Exploring the experiences of final year student nurses in acute hospital setting.

Lorraine Varley, Catherine MacNamara, Patricia Mannix-McNamara


Background: Preceptors play a pivotal role in inducting, supporting, teaching and assessing students on clinical placement. This research sought to examine student nurses’ experiences of preceptorship during their clinical placement in their final year of studies in order to further illuminate what is known about preceptorship in Ireland.

Method: A qualitative research design was adopted for this study. Forty-seven final year nursing students were questioned using a structured enquiry schedule about their experiences of preceptorship during clinical placement. All participants were female. The data were analysed thematically according to Smith, Flowers and Larkin’s (2009) framework.

Results: The results indicate that while a small minority found the experience of preceptors enhanced their learning while on clinical placement, the majority has a less than optimal experience. Reasons for this included: busy workloads of preceptors, difficulty in the accessibility of the preceptor and lack of preceptor training.

Conclusions: The results highlight a number of challenges facing students and preceptors in the study. The authors advocate for a more systematic national study into preceptorship implementation in Ireland. This is necessary in order to inform a more coherent framework with national standards for preceptor training and implementation.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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