Will someone walk with me? A case study exploration of graduate nurses’ perceptions of the preceptored experience

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Atherfold, Cheryl
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Health Science
Unitec Institute of Technology
Gasquoine, Susan
Yielder, Jill
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
graduate nurses
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Atherfold, C. (2008). Will someone walk with me? A case study exploration of graduate nurses’ perceptions of the preceptored experience. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Health Science, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
The transition from student to registered nurse is a challenging and often stressful time in a nurse’s career. “Will someone walk with me?’ is a case study research project that explores the graduate nurses’ perceptions of preceptorship as a strategy to support this transition at Lakes District Health Board (DHB). As a provider of graduate nurse programmes since 1995, Lakes DHB has provided preceptorship for the nurse in the initial period of clinical practice. Annual evaluation by questionnaire identified that this has been applied in a range of ways in different clinical settings with varying degrees of effectiveness. Further inquiry into graduate nurses’ perceptions of the preceptored experience during the first twelve weeks of practice within Lakes DHB forms the basis of this research project. The intention is to utilise this insight to further inform the development of preceptor education programmes and application of the preceptor role in the practice setting. Using the case study research method, data has been collected from fourteen participants using semi-structured interviews, focus groups and secondary data from the previous year’s questionnaire undertaken by preceptors and graduate nurses. Thematic analysis of the data has resulted in two categories, each with three associated themes. The first category relates to functional factors in the way the preceptorship role is applied. This explores the role of the Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE), organisation within the unit and the teaching of clinical skills. The second category relates to psychosocial considerations and includes the graduates sense of being scared and advocacy of the preceptor, socialization and team support, and the preceptor’s own experience as a registered nurse. Recommendations from the research include the allocation of a dedicated preceptor selected with consideration for relational ability; complementary rostering and workload allocation to ensure that the preceptor and graduate nurse work together; early notification when preceptor arrangements break down; implementation of a clinical coaching plan; and strengthening the CNE’s role as a leader facilitating and supporting preceptorship in the units. Opportunities for further research that arise from the study include the perceptions of the preceptors and the nursing leadership in clinical areas. Structuring the application of preceptorship, to ensure that all of these aspects are woven throughout the graduate nurse’s transition results in Korowai Aroha, a cloak of covering for a supported transition that facilitates the development of practice.
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