Date of Conferral







Eileen Fowles


The importance of preceptorships, as a mechanism to transfer knowledge of evidence-based nursing practices and developing confidence in nurses, is well-known. However, the effectiveness of preceptorships to develop confidence in perinatal nurses who provide safe care to childbearing women is unknown. Guided by Kolb's model of experiential learning and using a narrative analysis approach, this study examined perinatal nurse residents' perceptions of experiences that enhanced learning and developed confidence during preceptorship. Twenty nurses who completed a perinatal nurse residency of 18 weeks or more in the past 12 months participated in audiotaped, structured interviews. Their answers were transcribed and data analysis software was used to organize the interview data. Words and sentences were analyzed for themes. The following 7 themes emerged as confidence-building elements in perinatal nurse residency programs: 'break larger tasks into smaller steps,' 'offer encouragement,' 'provide written instructions,' 'push me a little,' 'practice with drills and quizzes,' 'show me, then let me do it,' and 'debrief after the day'. Nurses' perceptions of incivility from health care providers and experienced staff nurses was an unexpected finding. Preceptors, educators, and facilities can use these themes to standardize and strengthen perinatal preceptorships. This study has implications for positive social change by ensuring that perinatal nurse residents benefit from preceptorships that focus on the best ways to teach, instill confidence, and subsequently, pregnant women will receive safe, evidence-based care from a confident perinatal nurse. Organizations can use the results to structure quality perinatal preceptorships, retain confident nurses at the bedside, and enhance patient satisfaction.