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Keywords:

  • nursing education;
  • public health nursing education;
  • self-efficacy;
  • undergraduate education

ABSTRACT Objective: Preceptors are an essential component in preparing student nurses to become practicing public health nurses. Preparation for the preceptor role is important for achieving a quality learning experience for students. This study was conducted to explore the relationship between completion of a Web-delivered preceptor education program and both knowledge of the preceptor role and self-efficacy to perform in the preceptor role.

Design and Sample: This study used a pretest-posttest, quasi-experimental design. The participants were experienced public health nurses (n=31) working in one state in the United States.

Measures: Pretest and posttest Web-delivered survey using the preceptor self-efficacy questionnaire and an instrument assessing knowledge gain.

Intervention: A Web-delivered preceptor education program tailored for public health nurses.

Results: The program was associated with improved self-efficacy scores at both the immediate and the 3-month posttest, and with increased knowledge of the preceptor role evident at the immediate posttest only. Self-efficacy scores were independent of knowledge scores. Preceptor age was not correlated with self-efficacy or knowledge scores. Nurses with higher levels of education demonstrated higher self-efficacy scores in all 3 measurements.

Conclusions: Web-delivered continuing education targeted to public health nurse preceptors is an effective method to increase confidence and knowledge for the preceptor role.