03.02 Precepting a Student

Join NURSING.com to watch the full lesson now.

Included In This Lesson



  1. The preceptor role for student
    1. Role model
      1. Resource
      2. Educator
      3. Demonstrator
    2. Even new nurses are preceptors
  2. Preceptor role characteristics
    1. Knowledgeable
      1. Desire to teach
    2. Patient
    3. Enthusiastic
    4. Encouraging

Nursing Points


  1. Steps to success
    1. Assess learning needs of student
      1. Collaborate
        1. Set goals/outcomes
        2. Provide ongoing assessment
    2. Create a good learning environment
      1. Share personal experiences
    3. Provide timely feedback
      1. Honest
      2. Respectful
    4. Demonstrate nursing actions
      1. “Think out loud”
        1. Problem-solving visualized
    5. Be open to questions
      1. No stupid questions
      2. Provide clarification


  1. Tips for new nurse preceptor
    1. Let your student help you!
      1. Know your states regulations/restrictions
        1. What a student can/can’t do
        2. There are limitations
    2. Take inventory of own practice
      1. Use evidence based guidelines
      2. Abide by regulatory guidelines
      3. Follow facility policies
    3. Remember being a student
      1. Have compassion
    4. You can’t teach everything
      1. Limited time with student
      2. Know current level of education
    5. Make an impact
      1. Demonstrate the right way
      2. Do not complain about being preceptor
      3. Do not teach negative behaviors
      4. Be professional
    6. This role is important
      1. You are influencing the nursing future

Nursing Concepts

  1. Clinical judgement
  2. Communication
  3. Professionalism


Hey guys!  So today I want to talk to you all about what it mean to precept a nursing student.  You are probably thinking to yourself that you’ve barely been a nurse long enough to even worry about this!  But believe you me you will go into work one day and your nursing manager will tell you that you will have a student for the day!  So lets talk a little bit about what that will look like for you. So guys I just want to point out this lesson is regarding a nursing student but we also have a lesson on precepting a new nurse which is a little bit different so be sure to check that out too!

Ok so what is a preceptor to a student nurse?  So for a nursing student you are serving as a their role model, their resource, an educator, and also as a demonstrator of skills.  Keep in mind this may be the first time they have been out of the class room and into the clinical setting where there are real, live, sick patients!

What are the best characteristics that a preceptor can have to be an awesome preceptor? So of course knowledge is super important, having a desire to teach is also helpful, being patient, enthusiastic about nursing in general, and encouraging as this student is embarking on a new adventure in their life!  So I think it is safe to say we all in nursing school had that preceptor that we could tell was really not thrilled about having a student….don’t be that nurse! Try to remember how that felt and break that “nurses eat their young” reputation!

So what are some steps you can take to be a great preceptor to a nursing student?  Assess the learning needs of your student, collaborate with them to set goals and expected outcomes of their time with you.  With these goals make sure you are continuing to assess these outcomes throughout your time together. Provide feedback to your student whether its good or not-so-good be honest and respectful and do this in private as you don’t want to embarass them.  Demonstrate nursing actions and when you do this “think out loud” when you do this this can help the student to understand the thought process that you are taking in providing care. Of course be open to questions from your student…again this could be the first time they are experiencing anything outside of the classroom.  And with that do not ever, every make them feel like their question is stupid!  

What are some tips you can take in becoming the best preceptor?  So guys its ok to let your student help you…provided that they are only doing tasks that they are allowed to do!  Be sure you are extremely familiar with the laws in your state, they are all different, and there are limitations….so it is critical that you know them!  And guys just to add you really need to care about this because you have the nursing license at this point and your student doesn’t! To help in your own confidence as a preceptor take a look at your own practice, are you falling evidence based guidelines, regulatory guidelines, and your facility’s policy….have strong grip on these things to give the best information to your student.  This next tip is simple but effective….try your best to remember how you felt as a student and be compassionate and understanding. This might include wanting to teach absolute everything that you didn’t know as a student….guys you can’t teach everything and that’s ok…you have limited time with a student maybe only one shift and they might not be at the education level in their nursing program to learn certain things yet.  Make an impact on your student. Demonstrate the right way to do things, don’t create poor habits, do not complain about being a preceptor or having a student, and of course be professional in everyway especially with communication. Guys this role is so important in fact you could make or break your student’s thoughts on nursing!

Ok lets review!  A preceptor is a role model, resource, educator, and demonstrator.  Even though you are a new nurse you still may be appointed as a preceptor.  Characteristics that can help you to be amazing as a preceptor to a nursing student include being knowledgeable, having a desire to teach, enthusiastic about nursing, and encouraging to a student.  Steps to being successful are assessing the needs of the student, providing feedback in an honest and respectful way, demonstrating nursing actions while talking about it out loud, and create a positive learning environment.  Tips for a new nursing preceptor include letting the student help while following the nursing laws in your state, looking at your own practice, making a positive impact on your student by being professional and doing things the right way, and finally remembering what it was like to be a student yourself!

A few nursing concepts that we can apply to precpting a student are communication, clinical judgment, and professionalism.  Being professional and have appropriate clinical judgement are crucial when in this role. Communicating with your student is so important to aid in their education.

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