Intern and Preceptor Development


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PreAssignment 2019

By completing this worksheet, preceptor workshop registrants will explore their own learning, personality, and conflict managment styles. Assigned readings and research will increase understanding of both roles and challenges of precepting

Self-Study - Prep for VNIP Program Implementation

This assignment offers challenging work that relates to program structure, clinical teaching and creating tools to be used by the intern/preceptor team

Bibliography 2011

Annotated Literature Reviews from original literature search

Preceptor program

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The preceptor training and credentialing program is developed for direct Care providers that work with graduate nurses, students, new hires, and/or cross training of staff.  Development of this education and support has a two-fold purpose:  1. The first expected outcome is that existing staff will improve their skills in teaching, coaching, mentoring, leadership, communication, and evaluation.  Thus they can effectively work with nursing interns to help them gain competencies expected within the internship and outlined on a competency checklist.   2. The second expected outcome is a change in the culture of the work environment.  The program supports a transition from the current crisis-driven, intimidating, and isolating, work place to a more supportive environment designed to assist the transition of a novice nurse into successful practice.  This program is designed to build capacity both in individuals and in the environment.  It will foster development of leadership skills and professionalism at a ‘grassroots’ level.


Preceptor Competencies

During the internship experience, the preceptor will demonstrate effective skills in teaching techniques; listening, observational, and feedback techniques; design and planning experiences to operationalize the competency checklist in the clinical practice setting; evaluation and provision of constructive criticism and praise of achievements; minimization of reality shock; facilitation of conflict resolution; assistance to the intern in setting daily goals and plans; encouragement, coaching, and motivation skill sets.

The Clinical Educator will be responsible for supporting the preceptor as they attain these skills and will validate that the skills are demonstrated with competence.   The Preceptor program is a formal, post-licensure educational program designed to increase knowledge, teaching, and communication skills of experienced nurses.   These educational workshops are also used by specialty care area personnel for continued development of experienced staff in OR, ICU, psychiatric, and other special care areas.  While providing additional educational resources, this joint effort benefits the Internship project by changing the workplace culture further towards support of the novice/advanced beginner.  We currently offer six (6) workshops per year and accept a maximum of 30 participants per 2 day offering.

The research and theory based course curriculum addresses: role/responsibilities of the preceptor/intern, stages of Benner’s model of novice to expert (Benner, 1984), principles of teaching/learning, learning styles, delegation/legal implications, team building, personality style, effective communication techniques, conflict management, generational issues, competence of new RN’s in clinical practice, promoting critical thinking in the novice, and issues/concerns related to precepting.




Along with investing in transition programs for new graduates, our healthcare systems need to ensure the development and support of preceptors in the clinical setting.    Most of today’s transition programs use preceptor-based systems, but not many have consistently invested in the development and support of those preceptors.  To be effective, preceptors require an educational foundation, ongoing support, and “time to precept”.   A commitment to this teaching time serves the development of both the preceptor and the novice with whom they work. 

Our project has identified two groups that require intensive education and support.  The first target audience is the preceptor.  Teaching, mentoring, interpersonal, and competency assessment skills must be developed in these individuals.  A foundation must be laid with comprehensive, theory-based education related to interpersonal communication, roles/responsibilities, principles of teaching/learning, assessment, planning, and feedback skills.  The vitally important roles of the preceptor include “protector” and “competency validator”.  These roles require specific preparation and support.   Once this foundation is laid, the preceptor’s effectiveness should be evaluated on an ongoing basis, within a system that focuses on performance development for both the preceptor and the novices with whom they work.   This ensures the necessary structure for skills development and competency assessment that protects the safety of our clients as well as the professional development of our nurses.  

The second target audience is the novice nurse.  This nurse may be a new graduate, a re-entry candidate, or a nurse that is transitioning into a new specialty area.  Each of these novices needs advanced support, instruction, and precepting to develop the reflective learning, critical thinking, and specialty practice skills that are essential to safe, effective nursing care in our multiple and challenging settings.

To deliver this, an effective preceptor/internship program needs to include:

Investment in these target groups has paid dividends in recruitment, retention, and improved satisfaction for Vermont nurses.   We are succeeding in changing the culture of the workplace towards one of support, nurture, learning, and professional advancement.