Tips from TSE: Recognize preceptor red flags

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, December 26, 2008

When choosing your unit's next preceptors, there are some warnings signs that may indicate that a nurse might not be the right candidate for the job, says Marianne Adoryan, MA, BSN, RN-BC, clinical nurse educator at Sarasota (FL) Memorial Hospital.

The following are potential drawbacks when selecting a preceptor:

  • Demonstration of nurse-to-nurse hostility. "We recognize that this is in organizations and recognize it's among nursing," said Adoryan. Although many nurses are willing and able to help new graduates acclimate to an organization, you should be aware of any candidate who has demonstrated lateral violence.
  • Corrective action. Has a candidate had a corrective action plan during the past 12 months? If so, you might want to ask, "Is this really what they want to be focused on, or should they focus more on themselves than others right now?"
  • Hidden agendas. "I've had more than one nurse apply to the preceptor unit just because our nurses make $1 more an hour," said Adoryan.
  • Weekend-only work. "That's a challenge for any new grad to come in and work only the weekend," explained Adoryan. "Scheduling is an issue, and you need to work around the preceptor as well as the preceptee."
  • Educational levels. Make sure the preceptor has an educational level that is equal to or greater than that of the preceptee, said Adoryan.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the December issue of The Staff Educator. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to The Staff Educator.


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