What Is A Preceptor 

Preceptor. A simple, nine letter, three syllable word.  It is a role that is deceptive in that it appears easy to those who have never had the privilege of fulfilling its duties.  But as with most things that require talent, those that do it so well and gracefully make it appear effortless and uncomplicated. 

So what is a preceptor?  Preceptors are those experienced healthcare professionals that have agreed to orient a new member of the healthcare team and educate them to the responsibitilies and skills that they will need throughout their careers.  Preceptors must not only be excellent clinical practitioners but also possess knowledge of teaching and learning styles, leadership and social skills, patience, kindness and be great communicators.  But if the preceptor does not have the desire to fulfill this role and to give of themselves it will affect the quality and experience of the orientation and the orientee will have been cheated.

You can be a wonderful and competent professional who may even be considered the "best" in your setting and a ...horrible preceptor.  The truth is not everyone is cut out to become a preceptor.  It requires a set of social skills that not everyone possesses or is willing to develop.  A preceptor must teach, correct and critique while continuing to inspire.  Encourage, prompt and puch while remaining patient.  They impliment these actions and so many more, all while remaining an advocate for their patients as well as their orientee. 

Many of us had had the privilege to precept.  But there are those who are continually sought out to fulfill this role because of the way that they embrace it.  Those who excel at precepting are doing so much more than teach tasks, time management and documentation.  They may not know it but they are helping new team members grow in confidence and assisting them in a journey of self discovery.

Toda is Preceptor Appreciation Day.  Nursing, Respiratory Therapists and Allied Health Preceptors have been entered into a drawing for a variety of gifts.  Those preceptors who have spent 10% of their work hours or 150 hours or more will recieve a Certificate of Appreciation and a lapel pin.

Please take a moment to thank those staff members who share their insight, knowledge and time in the training and development of new personel.

Share a story or any comments you may have regarding preceptors.