03.01 Precepting a New Nurse

Join NURSING.com to watch the full lesson now.

Included In This Lesson



  1. The preceptor role
    1. Role model
      1. Resource
      2. Educator
    2. Even new nurses are preceptors
  2. Preceptor role characteristics
    1. Welcoming and kind
    2. Encouraging and positive
      1. Positivity creates confidence
    3. Patient and understanding
    4. Knowledgable

Nursing Points


  1. Steps to success
    1. Initial meeting
      1. Assess new nurse clinical competency
    2. Set goals and responsibilities
      1. What do you want to accomplish?
      2. What are your strengths?
      3. What are your weaknesses?
      4. What are your biggest concerns/fears?
      5. How can I best help you?
    3. Establish a relationship
      1. Share your own experiences
        1. You were once in their shoes!
      2. Be open to questions
      3. Be complimentary
        1. Creates confidence
      4. Use effective communication
        1. Be ready to answer/clarify questions
          1. There are no stupid questions!
    4. Provide structured learning experiences
      1. Organize the day in your mind
    5. Provide feedback
      1. Do’s and Don’ts
        1. Do be specific and concise
        2. Do encourage problem solving
        3. Do encourage self-reflection
        4. Do provide feedback in real time
        5. Don’t provide negative feedback in front of others
        6. Don’t hide a critique in a long explanation
        7. Don’t only let your preceptee watch you
          1. Does not encourage critical thinking


  1. Tips for the new nurse preceptor
    1. Let your preceptee help you!
      1. Delegate appropriate tasks
    2. Take an inventory of your own practice
      1. Be sure your practice aligns with policy
      2. Use evidence based guidelines
      3. Abide by regulatory guidelines
    3. Demonstrate professional communication
      1. Preceptee will mirror
    4. Listen to your preceptee
      1. New grad has just completed school
        1. Up-to-date with latest nursing information
    5. Be a socializer
      1. Stay with your preceptee during lunch/breaks
        1. Introduce to colleagues
          1. Encourages sense of safe environment

Nursing Concepts

  1. Clinical judgement
  2. Communication
  3. Interpersonal relationships


Hey guys!  Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about serving as a preceptor to a new nurse.  Now I know you are probably thinking to yourself….I am a new nurse myself this isn’t something I need to worry about!  Well yes I remember thinking the same thing but the reality is you very well could be assigned to precept a new nurse to your unit way before you feel you are ready!  So to help you with that I am going to help you with a few tips!

So what exactly is a preceptor?  So a nurse preceptor in the most basic terms serves as a role model to a new nurse.  The new nurse may be fresh out of nursing school or they may be just new to your clinical unit.  The preceptor is also a very important resource point and educator to the new nurse. And like I mentioned earlier even new nurses serve in the preceptor role!  Sounds scary but you can do it!

So what characteristics will help you in being a successful preceptor?  Remember a new nurse is petrified! I don’t know about you but I totally remember that feeling so as an experienced nurse now I tap into those feelings I once had to help a new nurse not feel that way.  Being welcoming and kind is the first step to take the edge off for a new nurse which definitely helps the new nurse to perform at their best. Being encouraging and positive is super important because positivity creates confidence in the new nurse.  Remember there is so much to learn so being understanding and patient is super important. Finally you have to have knowledge regarding nursing as well as knowledge of  your unit to share with your preceptee. 


In the next couple of slides, I have listed a few things that can help you to be a successful and amazing preceptor!  Ok so upon your initial meeting with your new preceptee you are going to need to assess their clinical level or competency.  Guys, you know how nursing school is….sometimes you get a ton of experience in one area but you aren’t as confident in another area.  So for instance maybe when your preceptee was in school they spent a lot of time in the ER and with that, they gained a ton of experience with inserting IV’s but they had much less experience performing a neuro assessment.  We all have different nursing school experiences and thats ok! After your intial meeting, you should set goals and responsibilities for your preceptee. Ask them a few questions, “What do you want to accomplish,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” “What are your biggest fears and concerns?” and “How as your preceptor can I best help you?” This type of communication can provide guidance and trust.  Share your own experiences meaning establish a relationship. Let your preceptee know you were once in their shoes and you made it! Make sure your preceptee knows they can ask you any and every question! I know it sounds cliche but there are no stupid questions when we have the job that we do! And I can tell you from personal experiences you as a preceptor are creating a safe environment for your patients when others around you feel comfortable asking questions.  Remember we are in this together! And guys be complimentary, when your preceptee does something good, recognizes an issue, asks an appropriate question give them a compliment! Tell them they are doing a great job….because who doesn’t like a nice compliment?!

Continuing on with a few more steps to success…..so guys as a preceptor you have a lot to think about, not only do you have your typical and expected responsibilities you also have your preceptee to worry about.  So help with this provide structured learning experiences to your preceptee meaning take a few minutes on your way in to work and think about what you want your preceptee to focus on for that shift. Focusing on one thing can help the day go smoother and not as overwhelming for you both!  Providing feedback is also super important because as a new nurse you build off of this feedback. When providing feedback encourage self-reflection and problem solving in your preceptee, be specific and concise (don’t beat around the bush so to speak), give feedback in real-time (not a day later), and make sure if you need to give negative feedback make sure you do it in private to not embarrass your preceptee.  Guys finally as a preceptor it can be easier and quicker to do everything yourself but this is not good for your preceptee, when your preceptee is only watching and not doing this does not encourage critical thinking.

Ok so what about some tips for you….as a new nurse preceptor!  This first one is so important….let your preceptee help you! They have a nursing license just like you do so delegate and observe their actions.  Letting them help you with help both of you in the end! Take a look at your own practice as a new nurse….are you following policies and are you using evidence based practices.  As a preceptor and teacher you have to be sure you are abiding by these guidelines. Don’t be surprised if you have a few questions of your own when you are explaining practices and teaching your preceptee…it happens all the time!  Guys make sure you are always communicating professionally with other providers because your preceptee will definitely mimic your actions. Listen to your preceptee, be open to what they have to say….they just got out of school and they typically have the most up-to-date nursing information!  And finally introduce your preceptee to co-workers, stay with them during breaks and lunches….this will help your preceptee to feel even more secure and confident in using others as a resource.

Ok lets review!  The preceptor is a role model who serves as a resource person and educator, and even a new nurse can precept.  Characteristics of a successful preceptor are being knowledgable, kind, patient and understanding. A few steps to being successful are assessing your preceptee, setting goals, establishing a relationship, being open, complimentary, and providing feedback.  Tips for the preceptor include letting the preceptee help you, taking an inventory of your own practice, listening to your preceptee, and helping to socialize your preceptee.

A few nursing concepts that we can apply to precepting a new nurse are communication, clinical judgment, and interpersonal relationships as these are all important when precepting.

We love you guys! Go out and be your best self today! And as always, Happy Nursing!