Preceptorship/mentorship is designed to socialize students into the nursing profession, promote their confidence/competence and foster their critical thinking ability. In today's global context, opportunities exist for local, rural, national and international student placements which provide exciting and mutually rewarding preceptorship experiences. Despite the recognized value of those involved in preceptorship/mentorship, however, little progress has been made regarding the development of an infrastructure that effectively supports their ongoing education. This project, piloted from October 2008 to February 2009, leveraged our established research and teaching experience in preceptorship with technologies that allowed us to create an accessible and engaging e-learning space designed to support preceptors in a seamless fashion, improve the quality of the student preceptorship and enhance professional teaching capacity. A purposive sample of 25 preceptors was selected with a total of 18 preceptors successfully completing the five month program. Upon completion, participants were surveyed and individually interviewed. Data analysis revealed the program to be informative, supportive and highly valued. Knowledge derived from this study can: a) further enrich the substantive nature and infrastructure of online preceptor education; and b) contribute to clarifying best practices for preceptor support, facilitation, and ongoing professional development with a view to enhancing the preceptorship experience.
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