How To Be a Good Preceptor in Nursing for a New Nurse

Every new nurse needs someone to guide them as they transition from the classroom into their career. All nurses are responsible for being good preceptors for others and helping those just starting in the field. This post will tell you all the details about how to be an effective nurse preceptor.

Why is Preceptorship Important & What is the Goal of a Preceptor?

Preceptorship is crucial in developing new nurses and giving them the confidence they need to succeed. It also helps ensure quality care by providing the new nurse with a safe, supportive learning environment.

The preceptor also advocates for the new nurse, helping them understand their roles and responsibilities and providing feedback and encouragement throughout their development process. Preceptors also promote safe practices by ensuring safety protocols and standards are followed.

By taking on this role, a preceptor not only helps the new nurse grow and contributes to better patient care.

10 Tips on How To Be A Good Preceptor for a New Nurse

1. Prioritize Safety

Setting and maintaining high standards for patient safety should be your top priority as a preceptor. Ensure to communicate with the new nurse about any safety protocols that must be followed and provide guidance on using the necessary tools to protect patients.

2. Be Patient

Remember that the new nurse is learning; it may take a while before they are comfortable in the role. Provide them ample time to complete tasks and ask as many questions as needed.

3. Set Reasonable Expectations

Every nurse is different, so tailor your expectations to the individual’s skills and experience level. Ensuring everyone understands what is expected will help the new nurse feel more comfortable and confident.

4. Provide Feedback

Offer positive and constructive feedback throughout the preceptorship period. Encourage open communication between you and the new nurse so that feelings can be expressed freely and respectfully.

5. Show Support

Being a good preceptor means constantly supporting your mentee. Demonstrate to the new nurse that you are there for them and will listen to their concerns.

6. Encourage Autonomy

Help the new nurse become more independent by gradually giving them tasks that require more decision-making and critical thinking skills.

7. Be a Role Model

As a preceptor, you are responsible for setting a good example. Demonstrate to the new nurse how to practice with integrity, respect, and compassion.

8. Monitor Progress

Ensure the new nurse gets enough support and feedback from you throughout their learning process. This will help them keep on track and stay motivated.

9. Celebrate Success

Help new nurses feel proud of their accomplishments by celebrating milestones. Acknowledge their hard work and express gratitude for their efforts.

10. Give Yourself Credit

Don’t forget to reward yourself for being a great preceptor! Taking on the mentor role is an important task that requires time and dedication, so be sure to recognize your efforts. Taking time for yourself will help you stay focused and energized as a preceptor.

By following these tips, you can be an excellent preceptor who is both respected and appreciated by your mentee.

What is the Process of Nursing Precepting?

The process of nursing precepting typically involves three stages:

  • Orientation- The new nurse is introduced to their team, hospital policies and procedures, and equipment during the orientation phase.
  • Learning– The learning phase includes hands-on experience in patient care under the direct supervision of the preceptor.
  • Assessment– Finally, the new nurse is evaluated on their skills and knowledge during the assessment phase.

Following these three stages, the preceptor can ensure that the new nurse has the necessary training and support to become a successful healthcare professional.

Pros and Cons of Being a Nurse Preceptor


  • Mentoring and developing new nurses is a rewarding experience.
  • Preceptors are in an excellent position to help promote safe practice and ensure quality patient care.
  • Being a preceptor keeps you updated on best practices in the healthcare industry.


  • Preceptorship can take a lot of time and energy, which can be taxing for the preceptor.
  • It can be challenging to balance providing enough support and guidance without overstepping boundaries.
  • The responsibility of caring for patients while teaching a new nurse can cause added stress.

Overall, being a nurse preceptor is an important job that can be rewarding and challenging. Maintaining a supportive environment that celebrates successes while setting reasonable standards for patient care is essential.


What is the most important responsibility of a preceptor?

A preceptor’s most important responsibility is to ensure patient safety by setting and maintaining high standards for patient care. Preceptors should also provide guidance, support, and mentorship to their new nurses to help them grow professionally.

How do you become a nursing preceptor?

To become a nursing preceptor, you must have experience as a registered nurse and meet the requirements of the hospital or healthcare organization. In addition, it is vital to possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively mentor new nurses.

What qualities make a good preceptor?

Good preceptors exhibit patience, empathy, and strong communication skills. They should be knowledgeable in the healthcare industry and passionate about teaching. Additionally, good preceptors can provide feedback while demonstrating respect and compassion towards their mentees.

What is the difference between a preceptor and an instructor?

A preceptor is typically a registered nurse who supports and mentors a new nurse in a clinical setting. An instructor, on the other hand, typically teaches students in an academic environment. Although both roles involve teaching and providing guidance, the type of instruction is different as each part has its own unique set of responsibilities.

Can a preceptor inspire others?

Yes, a preceptor can be an inspiring mentor and role model. By providing guidance and support to their mentee, preceptors can help new nurses build confidence and grow professionally. Preceptors should also strive to foster an environment of respect and collaboration to serve their students best.

Final Words

Being a successful nurse preceptor requires dedication, commitment, and patience. As a nurse preceptor, you must be organized, knowledgeable in your profession, and compassionate for the new nurses under your guidance. You must also strive to provide timely and constructive feedback so they can develop their skills further. Finally, don’t forget to recognize your students’ successes and provide support when needed. 

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