The value of preceptorship in supporting newly registered nurses must not be underestimated, a roundtable has heard.
Discussions around preceptorship took place at the Nursing Times Workforce Summit, held in London today.
Audience members were asked to reflect on a survey published this year by Nursing Times which looked at access to preceptorship across the UK and the quality of the programmes available.
Using the findings, the attendees were asked to identify actions which should taken to address some of the concerns which have been raised about preceptorship.
Professor Gemma Stacey, deputy chief executive of the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF), led the discussion.
She noted that respondents to the Nursing Times survey felt that preceptorship was “vitally important” in supporting that transition, but unfortunately some said there was not “the willingness or capacity within the workforce to invest in preceptorship”.
The survey, which was published in partnership with the FNF and the union Unison, found that 84% of respondents believe the move into newly registered nursing practice had become more challenging in the last two years.
It also found that nurses were often being left in charge of wards just weeks after qualifying. Consequently this lack of support was causing some people to quit their posts – or the profession all together.
Professor Stacey said, in response to the survey, some nurses had called for more innovation to “release time for preceptors”, such as bringing clinical educators onto the wards.
This would enable preceptors and preceptees to have “deep and meaningful conversations” and allow preceptors to “walk alongside newly registered nurses” in their transition, she said.
One of the biggest concerns raised at the roundtable was that some organisations lack support for preceptees, Professor Stacey said.
She added that sometimes this lack of support can be traced back to management level, where preceptees are seen as “a burden to the clinical environment”.
Professor Stacey warned that “we absolutely can’t underestimate the value of role models” and called for investment in the newly registered nursing workforce.
She said that nursing staff are “very good at making time for the things we see as important”.
“What we need to do is make sure that preceptorship is valued in a way that is equally important,” she added.