From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 30, 2012

Editor’s note: This feature is written by nursing professional development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of professional development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Precepting patient care associates

I recently attended the annual National Nursing Staff Development (NNSDO) convention, where the association announced it’s new name,  the Association for Nursing Professional Development. Among the excellent poster presentations was one called “Revolutionizing preceptorship to include patient care associates.” I have long believed that patient care associates (PCAs) (also known as nursing assistants or by a variety of other titles) should be precepted by their peers.

At North Shore Long Island Glen Cove Hospital in Glen Cove, N.Y., PCAs precept PCAs with considerable success. Those who serve as preceptors receive education and a pin acknowledging their role as preceptors. These men and women showed an increase in self-confidence, ability to communicate, and feelings of empowerment. Teaching strategies included lecture, discussion, role playing, communication and drawing exercises, and safety scenarios. I was so impressed with the way this program was planned and implemented.

I would be interested in hearing if any of you have trained PCAs to precept their peers. It seems that this type of program benefits nursing department personnel, patients, and the entire organization.

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