• Yvonne Botma University of the Free State
  • June Jeggels University of the Western Cape
  • Leana Uys University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: Clinical preceptors, training, guided practice


Nursing students in South Africa are mostly dissatisfied with clinical teaching and accompaniment in clinical practice. Consequently final year students feel ill prepared for their roles as registered nurses. Many factors, for example the shift from hospital based training to higher education, staff shortages, high acuity levels, greater treatment sophistication etc contribute to the dilemma of inadequate support of students during clinical placements.  Preceptors that are either appointed by the nursing education institution or health service may address the issue of inadequate support of students. However, preceptors should be well trained to facilitate learning in the complex and dynamic clinical environment. This article gives an outline for the preparation of preceptors and includes selection criteria for candidates, the content of a training programme, as well as the assessment of programme outcomes.

Author Biography

Yvonne Botma, University of the Free State


Abbott, P., Goosen, X. and Coetzee, J. 2010. Developing and supporting coordinators of structured mentoring schemes in South Africa. Available: [Accessed 3 Dec 2010].

Ashford, Lawrence J. 2010. Teach practical skills before nursing courses start. Nursing Standard 24 (48): 24.

Beckman, T.J. and Lee, M.C. 2009. Proposal for a collaborative approach to clinical teaching. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 84 (4): 339-344, doi: 10.4065/84.4.339.

Burns, C., Beauchesne, M., Ryan-Krause, P. and Sawin, K. 2006. Mastering the preceptor role: Challenges of clinical teaching. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 20 (3): 172-183.

Burns, H.K. and Northcutt, T. (2009) Supporting Preceptors: A three-pronged approach for success. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing 40 (11): 509-513.

Carlson, S., Kotze, W.J., and van Rooyen, D. 2005. Experiences of final year nursing students in their preparedness to become registered nurses. Curationis 28 (4): 65-73.

Carlson, E., Wann-Hansson, C. and Pilhammer, E. 2009. Teaching during clinical practice: Strategies and techniques used by preceptors in nursing education. Nurse Education Today 29 (2009): 522-526.

Cassimjee, R., Bhengu, M.P. 2006. Student nurses’ perceptions of their contact time with stakeholders in their clinical instruction. Curationis 29 (4): 47-53.

Clynes, M.P. and Raftery, S.E.C. 2008. Feedback: An essential element of student learning in clinical practice. Nurse Education in Practice 8: 405-411.

Davhana-Maselesele, M., Tjallinks, J. E. & Norval, M. S. 2001. Theory-practice integration in selected clinical situations. Curationis 24 (4): 4-9.

Forneris, S. and Peden-McAlpine, C. 2007. Evaluation of a reflective learning intervention to improve critical thinking in novice nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing 57 (4): 410-4221.

Happel, B. 2009. A model of preceptorship in nursing: Reflecting the complex functions of the role. Nursing Educator Perspectives 30 (6): 372-376.

Hossein, K.M., Fatetemeh, D., Fatemeh, O.S,, Katri, V.J., and Tahereh, B. 2010. Teaching style in clinical nursing education: A qualitative study of Iranian nursing teachers’ experiences. Nurse Education in Practice 10 (1): 8-12.

Huybrecht, S., Loeckz, W., Quaeyhaegens, Y., De Tobel, D. and Mistiaen, W. 2011. Mentoring in nursing education: Perceived characteristics of mentors and the consequences of mentorship. Nurse Education Today 31 : 274-278.

Kline, K.S., Hodges, J. 2006. A rational approach to solving the problem of competition for undergraduate clinical sites. Nursing Education Perspectives 27 (2): 80-83.

Knowles, M. 1984. Andragogy in Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kolb, D.A 1984. Experiential learning. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Lundberg, K.M. 2008. Promoting self-confidence in clinical nursing students. Nurse Educator doi:10.1097/01.NNE.0000299512.78270.d0, p. Online.

Mabuda, B.T., Potgieter, E., and Alberts, U.U. 2008. Student nurses’ experience during clinical practice in the Limpopo Province. Curationis 31 (1): 19-27.

Mannix, J., Wilkes, L. and Luck, L. 2009. Key stakeholders in clinical learning and teaching in Bachelor of Nursing programs: A discussion paper. Contemporary Nurse 32 (1-2): 59-68.

Myrick, F. and Yonge, O. 2002 Preceptor questioning and student critical thinking. Journal of Professional Nursing 18 (3): 176-181.

Ness, V., Duffy, K., McCullum, J. and Price, L. 2010. Supportiing and mentoring nursing students in practice. Nursing Standard 25 (1): 41-46.

Nielsen, A., Stragnell, S. and Jester, P. 2007.Guide for reflection using the clinical judgment model. Journal of Nursing Education 46 (11): 513-516.

Omansky, G. 2010. Staff nurses' experiences as preceptors and mentors: an integrative review. Journal of Nursing Management 18: 697-703.

Singer, C. 2006. A preceptor training program model for the hemodialysis setting. Nephrology Nursing Journal 33 (6): 623-629.

Smedley, A.M. 2008. Becoming and being a preceptor: A phenomenological study. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing 39 (4): 185-191.

Smedley, M. and Penny, L. 2009. A partnership approach to the preparation of preceptors' nursing education perspectives. New York: National League for Nursing.

Tanner, C.A. 2006. Thinking like a nurse: A research-based model of clinical judgment in nursing'. Journal of Nursing Education 45 (6): 204-211.

Treadway, K. and Chatterjee, N. 2011. Into the water − The clinical clerkship'. New England Journal of Medicine 364 (13): 1190-1193.

Van Rhyn, W.J.C. and Gontsana, M.R. 2004. Experiences by student nurses during clinical placement in psychiatric units in a hospital. Curationis 27 (4): 18-27.

Wade, G. and Hayes, E. 2010. Challenges and opportunities associated with preceptored community health clinical experience. Public Health Nursing 27 (5): 459-467.

Waterson, E., Harms, E., Qupe, L., Maritz, J., Manning, M., Makobe, K. and Chabeli, M. 2006. Strategies to improve the performance of learners in a nursing college – Part 1: Issues pertaining to nursing education. Curationis 29 (2): 56-65.

Yonge, O., Billay, D., Myrick, F. and Luhanga, F. 2007. Preceptorship and mentorship: Not merely a matter of semantics. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship 4 (1): 1-13.

Yonge, O., Myrick, F. and Furguson, L. 2011. The process of developing a framework to guide rural nurse preceptors in the evaluation of student performance. Nurse Education in Practice 11: 76-80.