How to Be a Good Preceptor
Marijke Durning | NursingLink
Be Open to Questions
Remember when you were a new nurse? Everything was a new experience and you had questions about everything. Not all new nurses have problems asking questions, but some are afraid to ask what they consider may be too many questions. It’s important to set the groundwork for questions in the beginning, to avoid situations where a new nurse should have asked before trying to do something with which she wasn’t familiar.
Ask Questions Yourself
In order to gauge your preceptee’s level of knowledge, it’s important to ask her questions too. While performing assessments or procedures, ask what she feels you should be doing or what she would do in your place. Ask her for feedback – how she felt while doing the procedure, or the reasons why she did different things. Keep in mind, don’t only ask about errors, ask about things she did correctly too.
Sometimes nurses know how to do something but don’t know why they did it that way, and asking about it reinforces that action.
Don’t Forget to Use Other Resources
As a preceptor, you are expected to provide learning experiences, but they don’t always have to be from you. There may be situations where another staff member has more knowledge than you or may be more available. For example, if you are discussing the nutrition and dietary needs of your patients, someone from the dietary department may be a good resource as well.
Demonstrations vs. Hands On
What works better, showing a new nurse how to do a procedure? Or having him do it under your direction?
That depends on several issues:
• What is your facility’s policy?
• Has he been exposed to this procedure before?
• Is he showing interest in trying it first?
• Has he shown that he listens well to your directions and will ask for assistance if he needs it?
• How comfortable are you with the procedure?