• clinical placements;
  • nurse mentor;
  • nurse preceptor;
  • nursing education;
  • stress

omansky g.l. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management 18, 697–703 Staff nurses' experiences as preceptors and mentors: an integrative review

Aim  The aim of this integrative review is to describe staff nurses’ experience when functioning as a preceptor or mentor for student nurses.

Background  The preceptor’s role is to guide students from the theory of nursing to the application of nursing theory, teaching clinical skills and clinical thinking. Relatively few research studies focus on the staff nurses’ experience.

Evaluation  Research studies and topical articles from Australia, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States were drawn from databases. The theoretical framework for the analysis was the Kahn et al. (1964) role episode model.

Key issues  Reservations over the efficacy of preceptor experiences have been identified. Along with intrinsic rewards, there is considerable stress and responsibility associated with precepting or mentoring. Nurse preceptors experience role ambiguity, conflict and overload when interacting with students.

Conclusions  Research indicates what might reduce the amount of stress for the nurse preceptor and increase job satisfaction and nurse retention.

Implications for nursing management  Defining and formalising the preceptor role can improve the standing of this function. Adjustments can be made to decrease the stress of the role. Preceptors and mentors request recognition and support for the amount of work involved in teaching students.