Although nurses take roles of preceptors only after completing certain preceptorship orientation programs and courses provided by educational organizations, such background can be discussed as limited. The solution to this problem is the organization of a preceptorship preparation class as a program that should be implemented in facilities where preceptors and preceptees work. This paper provides the analysis of the proposed solution with the focus on potential outcomes for preceptors, preceptees, and administrators; discusses the change theory applied to the project; presents the evaluation plan; describes the used modalities; and refers to the professional knowledge received after participating in the nursing program.
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The solution to the problem of the lack of knowledge and practical skills in nurses who plan to become preceptors is a preceptorship preparation class that is organized in a facility in the context of followed training programs. The curriculum for this preceptorship preparation class should be developed by the group of specialists, including nurse leaders working in the concrete facility, experienced preceptors, and professors who have experience in designing preceptorship programs in educational organizations. However, the focus is on creating a separate program for preceptors who work in the concrete facility; therefore, educators working in colleges and universities should be invited only at the stage of developing the program. Although the cooperation between facilities and educational organizations is promoted by Duteau (2012), Watson, Raffin-Bouchal, Melnick, and Whyte (2012) state they the practice of referring to educators as consultants is more advantageous because of saving resources and guaranteeing flexibility in planning training sessions.
The selection of topics to cover in a short four-week course is based on recommendations provided in the scholarly literature, and they are identified with the focus on problems that are usually experienced by preceptors during daily interactions with preceptees (Shinners, Mallory, & Franqueiro, 2013). The expected outcomes of this program’s implementation in the selected facility are the reduced turnover rate and improved retention because of the effective management of nurses’ time and resources (Watson et al., 2012). Additionally, outcomes are associated with improving the quality of nurses’ collaboration and making the preceptorship training well-structured. Table 1 presents the curriculum to use in a four-week preceptorship preparation class.
Table 1. Preceptorship Preparation Class: Curriculum.
|1||Teaching strategies |
|2||Professional conduct||Role playing |
|3||Learning needs |
|4||Critical thinking |
Identification and Inclusion of Change Theory
In order to implement the project, it is necessary to apply the principles of Kurt Lewin’s theory of change. According to this theory, there are three main stages that should be overcome by project managers: unfreezing, moving, and refreezing (Shirey, 2013). During the first stage, the representatives of a project team are expected to focus on the problem and recognize a need for change, as well as to conduct the needs analysis and discuss arguments for and against the change. In the context of developing the program for the preceptorship preparation class, the needs analysis should be conducted by nurse leaders and educators after receiving guidelines from administrators who can identify the problem in the facility.
The second stage is moving that involves the process of transitioning to a new practice. During this stage, it is important to develop the detailed plan of actions, test the proposed actions, and focus on collecting feedbacks (Shirey, 2013). In the context of the project, this stage is associated with developing the curriculum for the preceptors’ preparation class and implementing the training in an organization’s schedule to work with the first group of preceptors during four weeks. At the stage of refreezing, the promoted change becomes integrated into the organization’s operations with the focus on revising policies and standards. For this project, it is possible to speak about a refreezing stage after analyzing outcomes of the course for the first group of preceptors. If the outcomes are beneficial for the organization, it is important to implement the preceptorship preparation class in a standard schedule of experienced nurses.
Comprehensive and Measurable Plan for Evaluation
It is possible to shift to a refreezing stage of the change project only after conducting the detailed evaluation of the received results. Therefore, it is important to propose an appropriate plan for assessing the effectiveness of the implemented change. The evaluation plan should include several steps.
- At the first stage, it is necessary to accentuate areas that are identified as gaps during the needs analysis (time management, communication, decision-making, and critical thinking among others) (Shinners et al., 2013). These areas should be determined as targets, and the effectiveness is expected to be measured in the number of cases and percentages.
- At the second stage, it is important to develop questionnaires and protocols for administrators, instructors, trained preceptors, and preceptees in order to evaluate changes at pre-implementation and post-implementation stages.
- The third step is the pre-implementation evaluation of the preceptors and preceptees’ interaction, as well as their work, with the focus on the identified areas.
- The fourth step is the post-implementation evaluation of preceptors’ visions, satisfaction, and quality of work.
Utilization of New Modalities of Scholarship
The focus on new modalities is important to make the program of a preceptorship preparation class more flexible and oriented to the daily practice and changes in working environments. In spite of the fact that the preparation class will be integrated into the working schedule of preceptors during four weeks, experienced nurses need to be trained in resolving different types of cases and issues actively (Clark, Ahten, & Macy, 2013). For this purpose, it is important to incorporate role playing and the work with scenarios and cases in the program. According to Chan (2012), although preceptors are oriented to interacting with preceptees, there are often situations which cannot be resolved by preceptors with reference to their previous experience. Therefore, it is important to use role playing in order to model a variety of situations and cases that include different dilemmas to address.
In addition to role playing, it is also necessary to use such method as the work with large written scenarios that are more detailed than case studies, and they provide preceptors with opportunities to choose a variant to follow and activities to simulate (Clark et al., 2013). Furthermore, it is rather difficult to conclude regarding changes in preceptors’ behaviors and their possible successes before evaluating the change implementation. Therefore, it is important to use interactive pre- and post-tests in order to check what nurses have learnt in the class and what models they have adopted to follow. These modalities can be viewed as appropriate to stimulate nurses’ learning in the context of principles typical of modern on-the-job training and education.
Integration of Knowledge from Core and Specialty Track MSN Program Courses
In order to realize the proposed project and develop the program for a preceptorship preparation class, it is necessary to use the knowledge in such areas as nursing education, teamwork, the general collaboration within a nursing team, the implementation of change, and the application of technologies among others. The development of the project and design of the program for preceptorship training require well-developed organizational or managerial skills that are typical of nurse leaders. These skills can be developed while participating in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program courses. After completing the MSN program courses, nurses have the in-depth knowledge in such fields as informatics, leadership, teaching, and research. As a result, all this knowledge can be used in order to improve nurses’ competencies and work on the project to organize the class for preceptors in the concrete facility, design a curriculum, implement the change, and conclude regarding the program’s effectiveness to overcome the problem of poor time-management and ineffective cooperation of preceptors and preceptees.
While practicing as leaders and preceptors, experienced nurses experience many problems because their background knowledge is not enough to cope with real-life problems and organize the communication with preceptees in the most efficient manner. Therefore, an effective preceptorship training program based on the facility’s resources should be proposed for nurses to develop their skills and involve the clinical experience. The change project should be based on the principles of Lewin’s theory and include the well-developed plan of evaluation to conclude regarding the observed changes.
Chan, Z. C. (2012). Role-playing in the problem-based learning class. Nurse Education in Practice, 12(1), 21-27. Web.
Clark, C. M., Ahten, S. M., & Macy, R. (2013). Using problem-based learning scenarios to prepare nursing students to address incivility. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 9(3), 75-83. Web.
Duteau, J. (2012). Making a difference: The value of preceptorship programs in nursing education. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 43(1), 37-43. Web.
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Shinners, J., Mallory, C., & Franqueiro, T. (2013). Preceptorship today: Moving toward excellence. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 44(11), 482-483. Web.
Shirey, M. R. (2013). Lewin’s theory of planned change as a strategic resource. Journal of Nursing Administration, 43(2), 69-72. Web.
Watson, L. C., Raffin-Bouchal, S., Melnick, A., & Whyte, D. (2012). Designing and implementing an ambulatory oncology nursing peer preceptorship program: Using grounded theory research to guide program development. Nursing Research and Practice, 2012(1), 1-15. Web.