How to Make the Best Out of Your Nursing School Preceptorship

How to Make the Best Out of Your Nursing School Preceptorship

You’re about to start your nursing school preceptorship in an area where you may potentially work in after graduating nursing school! How exciting!!! Preceptorship is essentially a time where you get to work with and learn from an experienced nursing staff member and see firsthand what it really is like to work as a nurse.

On my last semester of nursing school, I was assigned to precept at an intensive care unit on night shifts, and I got the SWEETEST and honestly the BEST preceptor I could ever have hoped for. Despite having to precept during the pandemic (where I primarily had COVID patients), my preceptor taught me the value of resilience and of speaking up for oneself, especially when advocating for your patient, as well as helped strengthen my nursing clinical skills. With that being said, let’s jump into some tips/things that I found really helpful during my preceptorship!

  1. Get to know your preceptor. Prior to my first night shift with my preceptor, I invited my preceptor out for coffee (except she drinks tea LOL) to get to know each other a little better and discuss what was expected out of my preceptorship experience, such as clinical skills/projects. I also asked her what her teaching style was, and I told her how I learned best in order to make the best of my preceptorship experience. This also helped me with my nervousness because I got to meet her before my first night of precepting J
  2. Carry a small notebook around. I had a mini notebook I got off Dollar Tree just to jot down notes of everything I’ve learned throughout a shift (which ranged from medications, to patient diagnosis, to medical equipment), as well as wrote down questions and things I wanted to look up later. It really supplemented my learning because I was able to reflect back on what I learned in a shift, and build off of that knowledge.
  3. Never hesitate to ask questions. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask questions. It’s one of the best ways you can learn. In fact, no matter how busy your preceptor may be, go ahead and ask the question and note it down.
  4. Take the initiative to volunteer and do something you’ve never done before. For example, if you’ve never inserted a foley catheter, and the opportunity presents itself – take it! One of the best ways to learn something new is simply by doing. Also, if you are uncomfortable with doing something or have never done a clinical skill before, let your preceptor know so they can show you the ropes. That way, you can do it the second time around
  5. Brain sheet + time management. Once you have a general idea of how the unit where you precept works, create a brain sheet that works best for you. You could utilize your preceptor’s brain sheet if it works best for you, or you could create one that aligns with your work ethic and time management. Essentially, the brain sheet helps keep you organized.

Overall, the best way to make the best out of your nursing school preceptorship experience is to genuinely just take it all in. It’s a lot of learning, but it is a very exciting time of growth and opportunity. You get to see all your hard work throughout the past years as a nursing student in action! Enjoy the moment and just know that you have your preceptor to guide you all throughout the process. Trust yourself throughout the journey too

I hope you found this helpful! You are going to be such a wonderful nurse. Best of luck from me to you!!! As always, I’m rooting for you.

 Love, Annika Grace


Written by: Annika Grace

Instagram: @caffeinatedscrubs


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