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The ups and downs of preceptorship.

Preceptors and mentors are vital to a successful graduate program. What motivates advanced practice nurses in a busy, demanding practice to preceptor students? Three nurse practitioners talked about the upside and downside of being a preceptor.

Pediatric nurse practitioner Diane Evans says that being a preceptor is "just fun!" She finds fulfillment in imparting her knowledge to others. Diane says that she tries to make learning primary care fun for her graduate students. Because Diane specializes in the care of children, she often learns from her graduate students who have experience with adults.

Women's health care nurse practitioner Kathy Jorgensen says that she enjoys students because they "sharpen her skills." She says she wants to show students "the ideal" care provider and feels that mentoring students keeps her "on top of my game." Kathy also says that since she works by herself as a care provider, she enjoys the collegial relationship of a student who is already a professional nurse.

Family nurse practitioner Keven Comer believes there is no downside to being a preceptor. She says that students "keep you on your toes, are bright, imaginative, and enthusiastic." She feels that nurse practitioners have a professional responsibility to show by example how to be a good provider. Keven's students often remark about how her philosophy as a nurse practitioner is more multidisciplinary than the physician's role in primary care.

All of the nurse practitioners had some agreement about the minus side of preceptoring. "It's hard when the student is not what you are expecting. If you have a marginal student, it's hard to tell them that." "Having a student can slow you down." "Students take extra time, especially in the beginning." Nurse practitioner Kathy Jorgensen added that "most students are good, though." Uniquely, Kathy finds herself in the student role this year as well as preceptor and states she will do some things differently the next time she mentors a student. Kathy says that she will follow the student more closely and for a longer period of time. She will also give better feedback, talk less, and ask more questions.

Nurse practitioner Diane Evans feels that she got "lucky" when it came to the preceptors she had in graduate school and says that some things "you pay back." She feels strongly about making sure students are high quality. "You wouldn't want someone to take care of your child, your mother, or yourself if they don't know what they are doing." Keven Comer agreed that she learned from good nurse practitioner role models. She believes students are like "goslings" that need to have clinical experiences with nurse practitioners to better understand and follow their role.

Thank you to all of the preceptors who give so generously of their time and talents. Graduate programs could not exist without fine professionals willing to mentor students into the role of advanced practice nurses.

Deanna L. Babb, MN, APRN FNP, Coordinator FNP Program, Montana State University College of Nursing--Bozeman
COPYRIGHT 2005 Montana Nurses Association
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Advanced Practice
Author:Babb, Deanna L.
Publication:The Pulse
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:494
Previous Article:Council on Economic and General Welfare (E&GW) philosophy statement and goals.
Next Article:Elizabeth A. Goodall.
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