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Acting as a preceptor

Nurses act as preceptors for nursing students in many clinical settings. Their clinical support and supervision support students to practise and consolidate skills.

Students in preceptorship experiences are ready for more independent practice and no longer need direct supervision by a clinical instructor; however, they still require supervision. For BCCNM this means regulatory supervision. Regulatory supervision is a process that protects the public by having a nurse authorize activities a student can perform.

As a preceptor this means you are responsible and accountable when authorizing student activities. Unlike a nurse who may briefly interact with a student, preceptors play a greater role in providing regulatory supervision for a student.

It also means you need to know what regulatory supervision entails. The college outlined this process in the Regulatory Supervision of Students practice standard.

As an example…

Robin is an RN on the surgical floor in an urban hospital and is Sera's preceptor. Robin's been a preceptor before and finds an initial meeting is helpful to clarify expectations on both sides. Robin and Sera set a time to meet in the cafeteria before starting the preceptorship.

Over coffee, Robin reviews the course outline and the competencies Sera's learned in her program. Also, Sera shares her goals for the preceptorship and what she hopes to learn on the surgical unit.

Now that Robin has a good idea of Sera's level of competence and confidence, they discuss a plan for the activities Sera will demonstrate in the first week and ideas for how more complex activities will be authorized when she is ready. Robin asks Sera to tell her whenever she is facing a new procedure so they can review expectations together. They agree to set aside time during each shift to talk about Sera's progress with her learning goals and the activities she would like to practice.

Over that first coffee, Robin and Sera have begun their preceptor-student relationship. Sera feels the support and interest from Robin and looks forward to consolidating her skills with Robin's guidance. Robin leaves the meeting reflecting on her role in protecting the public as she provides regulatory supervision for activities Sera will perform.  

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