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Working Well with Your Nursing Preceptor

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Whether you are a student in a clinical preceptorship, or precepting in a new position, there are unwritten rules of “etiquette” in place when working with a nursing preceptor. Follow these tips for a more positive and enriching experience. When in doubt, pause and put yourself in the preceptor’s shoes to gain insight into your responses before you respond.

Never act like you know everything upfront. Using expressions akin to “Duh” or “I knew that” do not bode well for a positive preceptorship experience. Allow the preceptor to do his or her job which is to teach you what you need to know. Until he/she assesses your skill and knowledge abilities, he/she may train you at a level below what you think you deserve. Let him/her make the adjustment based on your demonstrated skills and abilities. Do not act like you are better than his/her training or that he/she is wasting your time!

Be a listerner, not a talker. Your preceptor’s job – in addition to his or her regular duties – is to train you to excel in performing in your new nursing position. He/she is giving you a wealth of information. Listen to that information and write it down if you have to. Don’t interrupt when the preceptor is talking with pearls of wisdom such as, “That’s not how I did it at my last job.” You will not win points. Listening is an active and interactive experience.Be there for it.

Ask lots of questions. Remember, there are no dumb questions – just unasked ones. Your preceptor wants you to clarify issues and asks questions. Don’t save the questions for the day you start working on your own. Question instructions for clarification and further information as needed. You do not look dumb by asking a lot of questions. Your preceptor knows you are listening and are engaged in the process when you ask questions.
Allow your preceptor to be your resource. He/she did not just enter the organization as you are doing. A preceptor is chosen by management because of his/her experience in the job position and nursing skills and knowledge. Use this to your advantage and have the preceptor be your resource for everything. You don’t need to limit this resource to on-the-job duties – they even have useful information such as where the closest bathroom is and what time the cafeteria opens.

Thank your preceptor at every opportunity. When I was working at a pediatric ER, I remember a co-worker, whose nursing student was not following the above tips say, “Time for my 13 dollar headache.” She was getting paid an extra dollar an hour to be a nursing preceptor. Even with a positive experience, that is not close to payment enough for the extra mile a preceptor goes every day for you. You do not need to shower this person with compliments or gifts – although he/she would likely not mind. But you do need to thank this person, at least once a day, for his/her attention to your needs. Expressing appreciation is still one of the best cost-free gifts a person can extend to another.


About the Author: Sue Heacock, RN, MBA, COHN-S is the author of Inspiring the Inspirational: Words of Hope From Nurses to Nurses, a compilation of stories from nurses around the country, with a sprinkling of inspirational quotes.  Sue is a Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist and has worked in a variety of areas of nursing including pediatrics and research.  Before entering the nursing profession, Sue worked in human resources and equal employment opportunity.
Click here to read more on Sue Heacock.

Source: NurseTogether.com

Nursing Students



  • Central to all helping professions, and enables persons to create meaning in their lives.
  • Means that people, relationships, and things matter

Nursing Theories of Caring 

Culture Care Diversity and Universality Theory (Leininger)

  • Based on transcultural nursing model
  • Transcultural nursing: a learned branch of nursing that focuses on the comparative study & analysis of cultures as they apply to nursing and health-illness practices, beliefs, and values
  • Goal of Transcultural Nursing: to provide care that is congruent with cultural values, beliefs, and practices
  • Cultures exhibit both diversity and universality
  • Diversity – perceiving, knowing, and practicing care in different ways
  • Universality – commonalities of care
  • Fundamental Theory Aspects – culture, care, cultural care, world view, folk health or well-being systems


A Peek into the Future of Health Care Technology

By Jennifer Larson, contributor

October 26, 2012 – These days, it seems like there’s an app for almost everything–including health care.

Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is currently exploring applications that would allow nurses and other health care professionals to use smartphones to scan barcodes at the bedside when administering medications. But that’s just one example of the types of mobile apps that health care professionals are putting to use.

In fact, there’s an ever-expanding body of mobile health resources, both free and subscription-based, that enable clinicians to access information that will help them do their jobs better. From specialized clinical content to drug interactions to pathophysiology, smartphones and web-enabled tablets can now put critical information and interactive tools literally at your fingertips.


Nurses Again Ranked Most Ethical of Professions in Poll

December 5, 2012 – The public continues to rate registered nurses (RNs) as the most trusted profession according to this year’s Gallup survey that ranks professions based on their honesty and ethical standards.

“This poll consistently shows that people connect with nurses and trust them to do the right thing,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN. “Policymakers should do the same as they debate crucial budget decisions that will affect health care quality and access for millions of Americans.”

Registered nurses are increasingly being recognized as leaders in transforming the health care system to meet the burgeoning demand for prevention, wellness, and primary care services with a focus on improving quality and managing costs. In addition to their clinical expertise, they are being sought out to serve in a variety of leadership posts on bodies developing policy recommendations related to a wide-range of health care policy issues.


Nursing: Then and Now

The nursing profession, as a whole, as well as the role of the nurse have evolved dramatically over the past several decades. I personally have witnessed the changing face of nursing during my 30+ years in the profession. Gone are the days when nurses were thought of as little more than helpers or assistants for physicians. Today’s nurses are healthcare professionals in their own right, playing an important and vital role in providing excellent healthcare.

Nursing Theorist

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As defined by the INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF NURSES as written by Virginia Henderson.

  • The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health, it’s recovery, or to a peaceful death the client would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge.
  • Help the client gain independence as rapidly as possible.

Nursing Theory

Over the years, nursing has incorporated theories from non-nursing sources, including theories of systems, human needs, change, problem solving, and decision making. Barnum defines theory as “a construct that accounts for or organizes some phenomenon. A nursing theory, then, describes or explains nursing.”

With the formulation of different theories, concepts, and ideas in nursing it:

  • It guides nurses in their practice knowing what is nursing and what is not nursing.
  • It helps in the formulations of standards, policies and laws.
  • It will help the people to understand the competencies and professional accountability of nurses.
  • It will help define the role of the nurse in the multidisciplinary health care team.


Application of Theory in Nursing Process

Image: http://www.kaweahdelta.org/nursing/WTOHC.asp


  • Theories are a set of interrelated concepts that give a systematic view of a phenomenon (an observable fact or event) that is explanatory & predictive in nature.
  • Theories are composed of concepts, definitions, models, propositions & are based on assumptions.
  • They are derived through two principal methods; deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.


Nursing as a Profession

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  • Is a calling that requires special knowledge, skill and preparation.
  • An occupation that requires advanced knowledge and skills and that it grows out of society’s needs for special services. (more…)