Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Diane K. Whitehead
In a report on the nursing shortage, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing cited insufficient preceptors as one of the factors influencing the decreased intake of nursing students to registered nurse (RN) programs, thus compounding the shortage issue. The site selected for this project was a teaching hospital that annually facilitates hundreds of nursing students for clinical practice. Graduate nurses rotating through the hospital are assigned to work with RNs within their assigned units. The purpose of this doctoral project was to develop a preceptor training program for RNs in a teaching hospital. The practice-focused question examined whether RNs would identify perceived competence and understanding in the preceptor role as a result of preceptor training. Knowles's adult learning theory and Benner's theory of skills acquisition framed the project. Participants (N = 7) completed a 2-week didactic and clinical training in preceptorship. As a result of the educational intervention, the preceptor trainees reported an increase in knowledge, skills, and confidence in the preceptor role. Seven participants (100%) expressed that the training was interesting, relevant, beneficial to their work, and stimulated sharing. The implications of this project for positive change include the potential benefits to new and experienced graduate nurse preceptors by reducing feelings of inadequacy, stress, and burnout and enhancing job satisfaction. Additionally, graduate nurses who work with competent, confident preceptors experience less anxiety, improved job satisfaction and a smoother transition to the role of professional nurses prepared to deliver quality health care to patients. Improving preceptor-graduate nurse experiences may result in reduced turnover among nurses and improved customer experiences.