The Nursing Midwifery Council recommends that all newly qualified nurses and midwives must have a period of preceptorship that should last for a minimum of 4-6 months and continue for up to a year if required.
Preceptorship builds the foundation for the individualís professional career and supports them through the transition period of adapting to being a student to a qualified practitioner. This is why the Trust is committed to supporting not only preceptorship in the clinical setting but to enhance this practical learning there is also a structured programme facilitated by the Practice Development Nurse Team which has proved to be very successful.
Using evaluations from past preceptees and preceptors, listening to student nurses, specialist practitioners, members of the multidisciplinary team and senior nurses, the Practice Development Nurse (PDN) team up date and develop the programme continually, so that the course running at the time is current and meaningful and meets the needs of the newly qualified practitioners as well as the service at the time. This enables us to encourage the Preceptees to be proactive, flexible, adaptable and positive in the way they respond to the continual changes that face the individuals, the Trust and the NHS in which we work.
The structured programme normally runs twice a year. However when we have large recruitment drives the PDN team have developed further programmes to suit the needs of the newly qualified nurses who may have trained outside of England and need support, not only to adapt to the role of a qualified professional, but to adapt to the life, culture and language of Norfolk.
Our programme usually runs over a four month period in order that the group can meet regularly over time and support each other as well as gain support from senior nurses .Using reflective practice, action learning, workshops and group discussion as well as traditional lecture style format, the preceptorship classroom is an open, honest and safe place to learn, gain support and celebrate success. If you do not feel able to share your hopes and fears with the group the PDN's make themselves available for one to one support when an individual requires such time.
Preceptorship is not just about dealing with the here and now. The PDN team, with the help of others within the Trust, encourages individuals to build relationships and network with other colleagues in order to develop support mechanisms and build resilience and self-confidence that will enable them to continue their development throughout their career.
The programme encourages individuals to develop their professional portfolio and be innovative and creative in their learning, encouraging the preceptee to find their own learning style as well as to be able to work outside their comfort zone. Hence E learning programmes are used, objectives for the clinical area set and assessments of clinical practice undertook for activities such as administering medications. All are done with the support of the clinical areas, peers and the PDN team.
Our varied programme has encouraged positive feedback from ward managers who indicate it has helped the individual to adjust to their new role and gain confidence.
The course attendees have found more than anything that the structured days provide support, encouragement, somewhere where you will be listened to and encouraged to find a solution, explore a new idea and to celebrate even the smallest success.