Preceptorship ˗ the one word that keeps so many from ever beginning an RN to MSN program. The prospect of putting together a big clinical project is intimidating, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds on paper and shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing your master’s degree. Indeed, if your school is as dedicated to your success as American College of Education is, they should work with you to make completing the preceptorship as easy as possible.
To set up your preceptorship, you need to find a preceptor, a location and a project for the facility. Let’s break down each of these elements to discuss how easy securing each one can be:
Your Preceptor. A preceptor is an experienced nurse who will serve as your mentor and supervisor while you work and learn through your preceptorship. At ACE, your preceptor can be any registered nurse with a master’s degree (it doesn’t have to be a master’s in nursing). Additionally, as long as you aren’t related, your preceptor can even be someone from where you work, which is extremely convenient.
Before you choose your preceptor, I recommend talking with a few different people you think would make for a good preceptor, especially if you already have a project idea. This will allow you to get their feedback, gauge their willingness and allow you to make the best choice for your needs.
Your Location. The location where you decide to do your preceptorship will have a big effect on the actual project. It’s obviously most convenient if you’re able to use where you work as the location. If you can’t, know that a portion of your preceptorship hours are delegated toward off-site work. Seems more manageable, right?
Your Project. The project is the bread and butter of your preceptorship. But figuring out how to approach it doesn’t have to be a headache. If you’re doing your preceptorship where you work, think back to the ideas you’ve had to improve your workplace. If you’re not where you work or just can’t think of anything, go to your preceptor or office manager and ask them if there are any improvements they’ve ever considered or wished could be implemented.
If your school is anything like ACE, they aren’t looking for ways to make the preceptorship harder than it has to be. Know that your school’s goal is to approve your project, preceptor and location so you can successfully complete this step in your degree. They don’t want it to be intimidating.
All in all, the preceptorship process is a process but it shouldn’t deter you from pursing an RN to MSN program. It’s completely manageable. Think of it like the last leg of a race – the vast majority of the run is behind you, the finish line is within view and you just have to kick it in gear to cross it.