Background: Preceptorship fulfills the requirements of International Guidelines regarding the training of health care professionals as a method of teaching in clinical settings, during the daily work routine. This study aims to analyze the preceptors' perceptions about preceptorship and their role as educators.
Methods: Data were collected via a questionnaire with 35 five-point Likert-type scale statements and analyzed using quantitative and qualitative approaches. The qualitative analysis consisted of two open-ended questions: (1) What is Preceptorship? And (2) What is your perception of the preceptor's role as an educator?
Results: Out of 619 invited Brazilian preceptors from different health care professions, 327 (52.8%) participated in the study. Among them, 80.7% were females, 35.2% were nurses and 8.9% were physicians. Factor analysis revealed five factors: Pedagogical Competence (F1), Support and educational resources (F2), Educational program planning (F3), Teaching-service integration (F4), and Student presence in the clinical setting (F5). About F1, F3, and F5, professionals from the northeast region had a more positive perception than professionals from the southeast. The item analysis revealed that preceptors learn from the students and consider the service network co-responsible for their training. However, they agreed that only a small part of the health care team participates in the program. Participants described preceptorship as an educational task in a clinical setting, in which active learning methods are used for the training of health care professionals. Preceptorship was considered a bridge between the Unified Health System and the Academic Practice. They envisioned their educator role as a model, tutor, leader, supervisor, and mentor.
Conclusion: Preceptors expressed a critical view about the nature of preceptorship and their role as educators, recognizing its challenges as well as its potential in clinical settings.
Keywords: Competence, professional; Health human resource training; Preceptorship; Teaching care integration services; Unified health system.