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College of Nursing

East Tennessee State University

Preceptoring bridges the gap between education and practice. Through the preceptor experience, students garner professional expertise, facilitated through integration of educational preparation and clinical practice experience. As a preceptor, you are sharing your knowledge and experience, guiding students, and lighting the path to proficiency for future nurses.

Preceptor Roles

  • Facilitator of student success
  • Teacher, student advocate, and performance evaluator
  • Professional role model
  • Experienced, competent RN
  • Resource person

View the presentation above which discusses the Clinical Preceptorship

Preceptor Considerations

Why Precept?

Even the most advance climbers need a guide to traverse some of the more difficult mountain treks. A sherpa shares their advanced knowledge of the terrain to aid the climbers in reaching the summit. A Preceptor does much the same for the student learner. A Preceptor shares their advanced knowledge of evidence based practice with their students to help them reach their destination of becoming highly skilled and proficient nurses. 

As a Preceptor, you are not only impacting the life of a future nurse, but all of the lives that each of these students will impact as they practice nursing in their own professional settings. Thus, your service not only impacts the student, but the community.

What Makes for an Effective Preceptor?

An Effective Preceptor will possess the following traits:

  • Effective Communication Skills:
    A Preceptor needs to communicate one's knowledge in a clear, concise, and relevant manner that makes learning engaging for the student. Effective communication allows for professional dialogue with the student and a mutual sharing of ideas.

  • Active Assessment Skills:
    Active assessment involves providing feedback throughout the clinical experience that is fair, consistent, and relevant to the growth of the student's skills. Feedback should be based upon first-hand interaction and assessment of the student. Active feedback provides immediate affirmations of student successes and opportunities for student growth. It is also key to identify goals and expectations of student success.

  • Effective Teaching and Role Modeling Skills
    A Preceptor role models effective patient care and interaction, engages and seeks feedback from the student, and provides opportunities for the student to apply their knowledge. To teach effectively, the preceptor must not only capture the interest of the student, but share in mutual respect.

  • Supporter of Student Success
    An effective Preceptor encourages student growth and success through active learning, problem solving, enthusiasm for the profession, and empowering the student to reach their identified goals and expectations.
Legal Considerations

 Some things to be cognizant of as a Preceptor:

  • The Preceptor is accountable for his/her own actions and supervision of the student.
  • The Student is responsible for actions within the scope of a student (does not work “under the license” of the preceptor).
  • The Student must be under the direct supervision of the preceptor.
  • The Preceptor may assign learning experiences to a qualified preceptor; however, supervision of the experience(s) remains the responsibility of the preceptor.
Become a Preceptor

If you are interested in becoming a Preceptor, please contact one of the following individuals with the College of Nursing:

Dr. Sandy K. Calhoun Diffenderfer
Assistant Professor
Graduate Programs



Dr. Billie Sills
Interim Coordinator, Graduate Student Services
Office of Student Services


You may also need to complete the Preceptor Professional Profile Form.



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