Preceptors' experiences of clinically educating and assessing undergraduate nursing students: an Irish context

J Nurs Manag. 2010 Mar;18(2):234-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2010.01050.x.


Aim: To explore preceptors' views and experiences of preceptoring undergraduate nursing students.

Background: Undertaking a preceptoring role is acknowledged internationally as complex and challenging. With the introduction of the undergraduate degree programme in Ireland (2002), preceptors were assigned a more formal role in the teaching and assessing of students. As this was a new programme for students and an additional responsibility for preceptors, it was important to investigate how preceptors found this new experience.

Methods: Data were collected using a mixed methods descriptive approach.

Results: Many preceptors wanted to become a preceptor and enjoyed the role. The majority of preceptors found the role stressful and burdensome and did not feel adequately supported by their clinical managers. Preceptors expressed the need for protected time, support, feedback and recognition from management for undertaking this role.

Conclusion: Findings validate problems experienced with preceptoring in other English-speaking countries and contribute further to building a case for vital change in this component of nursing education and nursing practice.

Implications for nursing management: Managers should focus on the challenges expressed by preceptors in this study and identify appropriate strategies to carefully select, monitor and support preceptors in this complex role.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Data Collection
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Educational Status
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preceptorship*
  • Social Support
  • Students, Nursing*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult