School of Nursing

Preceptor Information

Undergraduate Practicum Preceptor Information

NUR 480 Senior Practicum  
University of Southern Maine School of Nursing

Guidelines for Preceptors

Course: Students are enrolled in a three-credit course

Commitment: Students will complete 154 clinical hours this term. Hours are flexible according to preceptor and student's schedules, includes any shift or day, all meetings and clinical classes attended (not including seminar). Another preceptor may be assigned in cases of vacation, illness or conflicts of schedule, if available. We recommend that students spend at least 75% of their clinical time with their primary preceptor.

Evaluations: Faculty will contact preceptors by phone or email (depending on contact info provided and preceptor preference) within the first two weeks to check on the progress of orientation. Please provide your student with the contact information necessary for this contact and a schedule of work hours. Later in the semester we will make an appointment for a site visit between the student, the preceptor and faculty, however we encourage you to contact the faculty member for any question/concerns you may have prior to that time. We welcome opportunities to visit the clinical setting and/or meet with the preceptor at any time. Please talk to us about how we can be helpful to you.

Objectives: We will ask each student to prepare objectives to review with you, and submit to us at the beginning of the course. They will then revise their goals after 75-80 hours of clinical practice. (The forms are in the syllabus and the student will bring them to clinical) The primary purpose of this course is to develop competency in nursing care, including organizational skills, prioritizing and decision making. If your unit uses skill checklists or competency based orientation tools, we would like the student to use these to self evaluate.

Dos and Don'ts: The student is responsible for performing only skills for which she/he is prepared. All skills should be performed with supervision until the preceptor is comfortable with the student's abilities. Students must operate under the same policies and procedures as the other nurses in the institution, including any preparation required for advanced skills, ie. venipuncture. Advanced skill development should be postponed until comfort is established with basic skills.

Under the nurse practice act, students may not:
Take medical orders (student may do the communicating, but nurse must observe and write/note orders).
Delegate to other staff (this may be practiced with the preceptor retaining responsibility).

Students may give medications by any route for which they are prepared, including IV push medications in appropriate settings, with appropriate supervision. Students in some institutions may be required to complete the orientation or certification necessary to do IV insertion and venipuncture; this should be discussed with the instructor and hospital educators. Blood transfusions require two licensed nurses to confirm client identity; student may perform the skill of transfusion with supervision, if institution allows.

First meeting plan:
Exchange schedules and contact information. Make sure hospital orientation pieces are complete: security badges, computer training, parking, meals, uniform policies, OSHA trainings, confidentiality forms, etc. as required by the institution. The hospital staff development educators and the faculty can help to coordinate these requirements which vary by institution.
Discuss goals and sign initial form. Typical early goals involve more experience with injections or sterile procedures, increasing comfort trouble shooting IV pumps, increasing confidence in routine of shift. Students will be required to develop goals around communication with physicians, learning to complete safe and effective patient hand-of, and increasing the number of clients or complexity of clients managed. There is no set end point of achievement; we are looking for progress towards goals; safety in nursing practice, professional role development, improvements in communication, assessment skills and nursing techniques and the ability to adjust to the practice setting without a faculty on site.

Preceptor, Faculty, and Student Roles


Description of Preceptor Experience


Giving and Receiving Feedback


Behaviors Implying the Presence/Absence of Professional Values


Changes in Student Profile