Preceptor Preparation Online Course - Advanced

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

Module 4: Facilitating Critical Thinking and Clinical Decision-Making

Questioning: Probing for supporting evidence

Questioning is a teaching-learning strategy used to validate core knowledge, encourage further inquiry, and stimulate learning.

  • The preceptor's role is to foster critical thinking.
  • Core content should have been presented to the student through formal or informal methods.
  • Questioning should be an ongoing part of the learning dynamic focusing on basic content with higher concepts addressed as appropriate for the learning situation.
  • Questioning related to patient presentation and correlation to pathophysiology or a call to action should be explored in a focused manner to address clinical decision making.
  • This may entail coaching by focused questioning, or scaffolding, which is providing hints or assistance for the student to perform critical thinking (Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Holum, A., 1991).

Related to patient care, the preceptor may ask for a clinical rationale for a particular decision. This allows for reinforcement of what was done well and correct errors.

In addition to supporting the student's clinical decision making, when the preceptor poses these types of questions, the student learns the types of questions that they should be asking themselves in the clinical setting.

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