Preceptor Preparation Online Course - Advanced

Mozilla Firefox preferred browser

Essential Competencies of Preceptors: A Focus on Working with APRN Students

Module 1: Preceptor Roles and Responsibilities


The role of the preceptor is diverse and challenging, however, when equipped with the needed knowledge and strategies, experienced clinicians can provide meaningful learning experiences for APRN students. It is important that the preceptor reflect on their personal philosophy of learning, and recognize how this might affect their interactions with nursing students. Incorporating principles of adult learning recognizes the experiences and life skills that the learner brings to this learning experience, and fosters a climate of respect, self-direction, and safety. According to Benner (1984), most graduate students are advanced beginners, and it is important for the preceptor to recognize the characteristics of these stages.

The preceptor has many roles and responsibilities. The student expects a preceptor to be a teacher, coach, role model and a socializer. Students also want to be accepted and supported by the preceptor and staff of the unit. Working with the faculty of the nursing program, the preceptor is responsible for planning learning opportunities, implementing learning strategies, and evaluating the nursing student. The faculty, nurse manager, and colleagues in the clinical setting are important resources for the preceptor in managing the many roles and responsibilities. Lastly, there is a great deal of satisfaction in precepting APRN students, and the clinicians who accept these roles and responsibilities are making significant contributions to their setting as well as to the care of the patients.


Can you identify resources at your institution that would assist you in transitioning into the role of a preceptor?


Alspach, J. A. (2000). From Staff Nurse to Preceptor: A Preceptor Development Program, Instructor's Manual (2nd ed.). Aliso Viejo, CA: An AACN Critical Care Publication.

Benner, P. (1984). From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.

Gaberson, K.B. & Oermann, M.H. (2010). Clinical teaching strategies in nursing (3rd ed.). New York: Springer.

Knowles, M.S. (1984). The adult learner: A neglected species (3rd ed.). Houston: Gulf Publishing.

Knowles, M. S., Holton, E.F., & Swanson. R.A. (1998). The Adult Learner, 5th Ed. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company.

Ulrich, B. (2012). Mastering precepting: A nurse's handbook for success. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.

The Health Alliance of MidAmerica LLC. (2009). The difference between precepting and mentoring. Retrieved from Difference between Precepting and Mentoring.pdf.

This website is maintained by the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Office of Learning Technologies. The UMSON logo and all other contents of this website are the sole property of UMSON and may not be used for any purpose without prior written consent. Links to other websites do not constitute or imply an endorsement of those sites, their content, or their products and services. Please send comments, corrections, and link improvements to [email protected].