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4 Preceptor Personality Types

Prisca Smith | Scrubs Magazine

More thoughts on orientation because, as I’ve stated before, I am about to be an orientee again, and am trying to psyche myself up so I can survive! I walked away from my last stint as an orientee with this thought: there is not a formula for the perfect preceptor—perfect preceptors do NOT exist! Through experience I adopted a healthy knowledge of preceptor personalities earned the hard way.

Granted precepting can be a thankless job; I know nurses who precept other nurses for free, meaning zero compensation from the hospital they work for. In fact, many preceptors do not have the choice of whether or not they will precept during any given shift and are just thrust into the job!

And then think of all the talking and teaching and time and knowledge preceptors are expected to part with–all under the usual pressures of getting the job done. Yeah, so while being an orientee can kinda stink times, being a preceptor for some can induce burn-out, in my thinking.

Added to the above is the fact that orientees often have more than one preceptor assigned to them. I was told I would have certain people precept me, then was switched on almost a daily basis from person to person. There was very little consistency and it drove me mad! I would get comfy with one nurse, then be reassigned to a new nurse who didn’t know what I had done, how I learned, etc. It was frustrating for me and the nurses I worked with.

Anyway, I started to generalize preceptor types and came up with some personalities that I think most new orientees encounter. Humor me here…

Next: The “Teacher” >>

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    over 4 years ago


    My hospital gives preceptor pay; they just have to write it in a time clock edit log. I do have to say that I experienced a preceptor that did a lot of the work and didn't teach me stuff, or sometimes she did let me do stuff but rushed me through it and sometimes even took over. I also felt like when I asked questions she didn't answer them in the way I was looking for - she was too rushed to make sure she was getting at what I needed to know. Also I felt she was very critical. So I got a new preceptor, actually 2 cause my main preceptor is part time, but she was the only one available where I will be working, right now. I really like both of them now. They are both "co-worker" style.

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