What makes a good preceptor? Perspectives of recent new graduate Registered Nurses in New Zealand.

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Krawczyk, Michell
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Nursing
Eastern Institute of Technology
Marshall, Bob
Grogan, Arianna
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
new graduates
registered nurses
Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) Programme
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Krawczyk, M. (2017). What makes a good preceptor? Perspectives of recent new graduate Registered Nurses in New Zealand.(Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Nursing). Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), New Zealand.
BACKGROUND In the first year of a Registered Nurse’s career, there is a need for support to provide the opportunity for these Registered Nurses to develop relationships, increase confidence and competence, and build on their knowledge base. A preceptor plays an important role to ensure the successful outcome of this phase. Preceptors need to give the required support to ensure new nurses can develop from a graduate (advanced beginner) Registered Nurse to a competent Registered Nurse. With a current shortage of Registered Nurses and over fifty percent of the current Registered Nurse work force predicted to retire by 2035, it is important to retain these new Registered Nurses to overcome this deficit. RESEARCH QUESTION AND OBJECTIVE The research undertaken for this thesis sought to answer the question “What makes a good preceptor?” The primary objective for this research was to determine from recent New Graduate Registered Nurses (NG-RN) what attributes make a good preceptor. These attributes may lead District Health Boards and other healthcare providers to look more closely into whom they choose to be preceptors. METHOD The research undertaken was of a quantitative design, with the option of free text answers, which provided some qualitative data. An electronic questionnaire encompassing 14 questions was designed using SurveyMonkey®. The weblink to this questionnaire was sent via email to 120 recent NG-RNs in three District Health Boards, who had completed the Nurse Entry to Practice programme between 2013 and 2016 and were still employed by the District Health Board. RESULTS The response rate from the 120 questionnaires sent out was 25% (n=30). The quantitative results have shown four main characteristics required of a preceptor: support from the preceptor and a supportive working environment, knowledge sharing, teaching of new skills and feedback. Other characteristics that rated highly were guidance, approachability and patience. The quantitative data also showed that the level of confidence post preceptorship, compared to pre-preceptorship, was rated by the participants as good or better, but that the participant preceptorship experience had no impact on 50% of the respondents’ intention to remain in nursing employment. Those that stated the preceptorship experience had an impact on their decision to remain in nursing employment, said they stayed mostly due to having a supportive preceptor and working environment. Four key themes emerged from the qualitative responses relating to beneficial attributes of a good preceptor: support, which involved both feeling supported and receiving this support; knowledge, which involved both being knowledgeable and sharing of this knowledge; feedback, including the type and how it was given; and teaching, which involved the teaching of new skills and at an appropriate level, with support being the most common theme throughout the study. These were similar to the quantitative results. CONCLUSION The study identified many characteristics which make a good preceptor, with support, knowledge, feedback and teaching being the four main characteristics. The respondents were, in general, well supported in their first year of nursing. A supportive preceptorship increased confidence and influenced the NG-RN to stay in their nursing employment. Providers who run preceptor programmes need to continue to ensure they are selecting appropriate preceptors and ensure more regular time for preceptors and NG-RNs to spend together.
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license
Available online at