From the staff development bookshelf: Length of charge nurse preceptorships

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 4, 2011

New charge nurses are learning many new skills, which will be much easier if they are provided a preceptor solely dedicated to ensuring that they receive the necessary education.

Depending on your facility and how much time you want to invest, a two- to three-week orientation with the preceptor should be sufficient. But be creative with your scheduling to ensure you get the greatest bang for your buck. If you orient change nurses to a 12-hour shift and they work only three shifts per week, when they return the next week (which may be their last week of orientation), they may have forgotten what they learned the week before. Information overload is possible too.

Try to schedule the charge nurse for eight-hour shifts five days a week for the first two weeks of orientation. The more experience you give them, the better off they will be when they are working independently.

Source: Adapted from Charge Nurse Program Builder: Tools for Developing Unit Leaders by Tammy L. Berbarie, BA, RN-BC.

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