I had my first official day of precepting this week! Typically we don’t start until our last quarter, but I asked if there was a way to get in more hours of practice. As they say “ask (early enough and get all the dirty work done) and you shall receive.” I was fortunate enough to be able to take on an extra preceptorship on my own time on a peds unit at a nearby hospital.
Most of the day was an orientation to the unit, getting familiar with the nurses and the way they function as a team. My preceptor and I had patients, but I mostly shadowed his work, helping as needed. And while I thought I would have wanted to jump right in, I actually enjoyed just being able to follow along and see how he works and take it all in. I was really surprised as to how comfortable I started to feel in terms of my skills, even though I wasn’t actually practicing anything. I think working in a hospital as a CNA has really boosted my confidence. And on top of that — there’s no instructor following your footsteps making you even more nervous about making a mistake.
It got me thinking about a nursing school that would be all precepting. No direct instructor. If there were actually nurses out there willing to take on new nursing students (ok, maybe this is sounding a bit far fetched now…), but to have that consistent experience of what it’s like to be a nurse working a full shift from the beginning, might change the way we practice as new grads for the better. Of course there are a billion liability issues I am sure… but I think it might help to really get to experience it all like first hand, rather than in the typical ten student to one instructor method we’ve got going right now.