Evaluating preceptors’ and preceptees’ satisfaction concerning preceptorship and the preceptor-preceptee relationship

Eira Kristiina Hyrkas, Deborah Ann Linscott, James P. Rhudy, Jr.


Background: Retention of newly graduated nurses is becoming a costly challenge regardless of efforts such as orientation and residency programs. Satisfaction with the preceptorship relationship is important if the preceptor is to remain committed to fulfilling the role and if the preceptee is to complete the experience and then exhibit satisfactory clinical performance. Most studies have focused on describing either preceptor or preceptee perspectives regardless of the fact that both parties impact the outcomes. The purpose of this study was to describe what factors are associated with preceptors’ commitment to, and satisfaction with, the preceptor role; with preceptees’ satisfaction with the preceptorship experience and with their nursing performance; and with preceptors’ and preceptees’ job satisfaction.

Methods: This study used a descriptive correlational design with a convenience sample of preceptors (n = 85) and preceptees (n = 85) from a tertiary medical center in the north-eastern U.S. Subjects were surveyed within six months of a preceptorship experience. Data were analysed for associations between preceptors’ experience and perceptions of the preceptorship role; and with multiple regression for predictive models of the preceptorship relationship.

Results: Total job satisfaction was rated “high” or “quite high” by 99% of preceptors and 97% of preceptees, with intrinsic factors rated higher than extrinsic factors. Preceptors ranked “assisting new staff to integrate into the unit” and “teaching and sharing knowledge” as the greatest benefits to the preceptorship program. Preceptees ranked interpersonal relationships, communication, and professional development as their strongest skills, and teaching and collaboration and critical care as their least strong skill set. Positive correlations were found between the preceptors’ perceptions of benefits and rewards and their perceptions of support (r = .448, p < .01) and commitment to the role (r = .652, p < .01). The preceptors’ perceptions of support predicted extrinsic, intrinsic and total job satisfaction; and explained 36%, 48%, and 50% of the variability in the outcome, respectively. The total score on the preceptee satisfaction scale was the only variable predicting extrinsic, intrinsic, and total job satisfaction; with 45%, 39%, and 20% explained by the model.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that systems should be established so that preceptors perceive that their preceptorship role is rewarded and supported. Preceptee satisfaction with the preceptorship experience was correlated with favorable evaluation of the relationship between the preceptee and preceptor. Beyond experience and competence, precepting requires considerable teaching skill. Experience is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a good preceptor. These findings indicate that when preceptors and preceptees have the benefit of formal preceptorship programs that are well supported, and when the preceptors’ efforts are rewarded, satisfaction is enhanced for both participants, preceptors’ commitment to the role is reinforced, and the preceptee has a foundation for strong clinical performance. Ultimately, the patient is the direct beneficiary of a well-designed preceptorship program.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n4p120

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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