Preceptor Qualifications & Responsibilities

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Preceptor Responsibilities

The preceptor should be familiar with the objectives of the practicum. The student’s identified areas of competency and areas of needed experience will serve as a guide for the preceptor during the practicum experience.


  • The preceptor should have educational preparation of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher with expertise in the clinical area relevant to the student’s learning needs. The preceptor should have a minimum of one year nursing experience.
  • The preceptor may be approved with credentials other than a BSN (i.e. ADN). An additional Letter of Endorsement (LOE) should be completed by the nurse manager and submitted to the School of Nursing by the student. The student is responsible for having the nurse manager complete the document.
  • The preceptor may only supervise one student during a clinical shift as specified by the Alabama Board of Nursing. The preceptor may serve as preceptor for more than one student as long as the students do not precept on the same clinical shift.
  • The preceptor should contact the student at least one hour prior to the scheduled shift if he/she must cancel a scheduled clinical day. Some students drive more than an hour to the agency and will not be allowed to stay and complete the scheduled clinical shift in the absence of the preceptor.
  • The preceptor should share the preferred method of contact for communication with the student.
  • The preceptor should orient the student to the clinical site and agency policies.
  • The preceptor should be an expert role model who is willing to share clinical experience and knowledge and use effective learning strategies.
  • The preceptor should use open communication and seek out learning opportunities to mentor the student.
  • The preceptor should sign the student's clinical time log daily verifying hours completed.
  • The preceptor must evaluate student progress and provide constructive, formative and summative feedback to students and faculty.
    • Complete the Preceptor Evaluation of Student at mid-term and final evaluation.
    • Provide daily feedback regarding performance.


  • The preceptor must not allow the student to give any medication or perform invasive procedures without direct supervision of preceptor (i.e. Foley insertion, IV insertion, medication administration, sterile dressing changes, etc).
  • The preceptor must not allow the student to administer blood or blood products.
  • The preceptor and student are obligated to contact faculty immediately if a student is tardy, misses a scheduled clinical day without prior notification, or demonstrates unprofessional or unsafe behavior.

Preceptor Teaching Tips

Avoid using the same teaching-learning approach for all students.

Students learn in a variety of ways including visual, verbal, written, concrete and abstract, and multidimensional. Many times your personal style of learning may be different than your student's.

Give frequent feedback along the way, not just at the end.

Focus on the performance, not the person. Involve the student in the self-evaluation process.

Break larger tasks into step by step skills.

Give feedback on the performance of each step of the process. Provide rationales during your demonstration. Allow active practice and repetition.

Spend time to get to know your student.

Knowing the student’s current knowledge base and readiness to learn helps both of you identify where they are and where they need to be.

Verbally discuss your decision making process.

Share your thought processes that lead to your decision. Identify the factors in the clinical situation that guided your thinking.