Nursing preceptors' experiences of two clinical education models

Nurse Educ Pract. 2014 Aug;14(4):427-33. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2014.01.010. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


Preceptors play an important role in the process of developing students' knowledge and skills. There is an ongoing search for the best learning and teaching models in clinical education. Little is known about preceptors' perspectives on different models. The aim of the study was to describe nursing preceptors' experiences of two clinical models of clinical education: peer learning and traditional supervision. A descriptive design and qualitative approach was used. Eighteen preceptors from surgical and medical departments at two hospitals were interviewed, ten representing peer learning (student work in pairs) and eight traditional supervision (one student follows a nurse during a shift). The findings showed that preceptors using peer learning created room for students to assume responsibility for their own learning, challenged students' knowledge by refraining from stepping in and encouraged critical thinking. Using traditional supervision, the preceptors' individual ambitions influenced the preceptorship and their own knowledge was empathized as being important to impart. They demonstrated, observed and gradually relinquished responsibility to the students. The choice of clinical education model is important. Peer learning seemed to create learning environments that integrate clinical and academic skills. Investigation of pedagogical models in clinical education should be of major concern to managers and preceptors.

Keywords: Clinical education; Nurses; Peer learning; Traditional supervision.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Public / organization & administration
  • Hospitals, Teaching / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentors / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Educational*
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Models, Organizational
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Peer Group
  • Preceptorship / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students, Nursing / psychology
  • Sweden
  • Teaching / methods*