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Changes in the preceptor role: re-visiting preceptors’ perceptions of benefits, rewards, support and commitment to the role

Authors

  • Kristiina Hyrkäs,

    1. Kristiina Hyrkäs LicNSc MNSc PhD RN
      Director
      Center for Nursing Research and Quality Outcomes, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, USA;
      and Adjunct Professor
      College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA
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  • Martha Shoemaker

    1. Martha Shoemaker BGS BSN (candidate)
      Research Assistant
      University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
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K. Hyrkäs: e-mail: hyrkak@mmc.org

Abstract

Title. Changes in the preceptor role: re-visiting preceptors’ perceptions of benefits, rewards, support and commitment to the role

Aim.  This is a report of a study to explore the relationships between preceptors’ perceptions of benefits, rewards, support and commitment to the preceptor role.

Background.  The preceptorship model is widely used in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education. Preceptor relationships provide students with reality based and skills-oriented learning experiences and are useful for familiarizing newly hired nurses with clinical settings, hospital policies, procedures and routines.

Method.  Two sub-groups of 82 preceptors were recruited: (A) those in an ongoing preceptorship with undergraduate students and (B) those working with newly hired nurses. Four questionnaires were used: the Preceptor’s Perceptions of Benefits and Rewards Scale, the Preceptor’s Perceptions of Support Scale, the Commitment to the Preceptor Role Scale and a demographic information sheet. The data were collected in November 2004 and April–May 2005.

Findings.  The findings parallel those reported in the earlier studies, but also reveal interesting differences between the two sub-groups. A positive correlation was found between preceptors working with nursing students and perceptions of support. In this sub-group, perceptions of support increased with years of nursing experience, time since graduation, and age. The preceptors had higher perceptions of the benefits and rewards than reported in earlier studies, but perceptions about support were lower in comparison with findings from an earlier Canadian study. Commitment to the role remained high.

Conclusion.  The preceptor role is undergoing changes associated with many factors, including workplace, type of nursing, and preceptees’ varying learning needs. Awareness of the importance of this role and ongoing support are critical to its future success.

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