Contributing to the theory development of preceptorship

Nurse Educ Today. 2004 Oct;24(7):566-74. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2004.07.010.


The purpose of the study was to clarify and analyze the concept of preceptorship as experienced by the preceptor. Preceptorship is a teaching method commonly used in many professions. The current study assists in the clarification and analysis of the concept of preceptorship as experienced by the preceptor. Regarding methodology, the literature was reviewed to compare the experience of clinical teaching with preceptorship. Literature was reviewed from the following fields/domains: nursing, medicine, education, social work, rehabilitation, dentistry, law, and pharmacy. Through application of the framework outlined by Walker, L.O., Avant, K.C., 1995. Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing, third ed. Appleton & Lange, Norwalk, attributes, antecedents, consequences, and empirical referents were identified that help define preceptorship. There were three main findings: The nature of the relationship between the preceptor and preceptee is pivotal, evaluation is a challenge, and preceptorship is distinct from mentorship. The consequences of a preceptorship experience are better prepared and more confident preceptors, evolution into a mentorship relationship, and professional development of both the preceptor and the preceptee. This article concludes with numerous topics that could be addressed in future research: (a) screening tools for the preceptor; (b) evaluation of the preceptee; (c) the relationship between preceptee, preceptor, and faculty; (d) preparation of the preceptor, and (e) rewarding the preceptor.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Mentors / psychology*
  • Models, Educational*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff / education
  • Nursing Staff / psychology
  • Preceptorship / organization & administration*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychology, Educational
  • Students, Nursing / psychology