How to Find a Preceptor for NUR 407

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Listen as Deborah Erickson, Associate Professor of Nursing at Bradley University, shares information and requirements for the NUR 407 practicum. Deb will discuss timelines and due dates, clinical requirements, preceptor packets, core competencies and tips for finding a preceptor in your area.


Sara: Hello, everyone. It’s my pleasure today to introduce Deb Erickson, Associate Professor of Nursing here at Bradley University to share information and requirements for the Nurse 407 practicum. Deb will speak to timelines, due dates, clinical requirements, preceptor packets and tips for finding a preceptor in this Webinar presentation today. So, without further ado, I would like to turn it over to Deb.

Nursing 407 is one of four courses that’s taken by students who are enrolled in our Masters programs that don’t have a BSN degree. It’s actually one of four courses – Nursing 404 is a Community Health Nursing Theory course and then Nursing 407 – we’re talking about that specifically in this webinar today – is the RN to MSN practicum and it’s usually taken at the same time as Nursing 404 and it’s actually a clinical component that’s in the community setting. It’s a one hour course and there’s 50 clinical hours or practicum hours that you will need to do for this course.

So how quickly should you find a preceptor? And notice we say here it’s as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s challenging finding a preceptor but also in the community setting it’s, uh, maybe a little bit more challenging. What you’re going to find is that the preceptor packets must be submitted about seven weeks before the class actually starts. This gives me time to review the preceptor packet to make sure everything is in order because we have to do this for our accreditation. Nursing 407 is usually scheduled during the 2nd semester as a Bradley nursing student so that really gives you a full, you know, half a semester, uh, to get that preceptor located.

So as I mentioned, Nursing 407 preceptors must work in a community setting. There’s numerous, uh, examples of nurses that work in the community setting – this could be a nurse that works in the schools, could be in the health department, um, occupational health departments within a company or in long term care or assisted living facilities. So let’s talk about those a little bit more, uh, and you can refer to your clinical packets in your Masters level either FNP program or Nursing Administration program, it will give you some more information about these types of preceptors. But let’s say you have a friend or maybe you have a child who’s in a school and there’s a school nurse there. It would be perfectly acceptable for you to, um, contact that school nurse to see if she or he would be available to serve as your preceptor. And I think it’s important to note that when somebody is going to be a preceptor it’s not just you, the student, following them around. You can also do some types of projects or activities in the system with that. For example, students that I know that have worked in the school setting – there have been teachers that maybe had some projects that they wanted to talk to the students, it might be on oral care and brushing your teeth and healthy eating and so those are types of activities that a student like you enrolled in this course then could do some of that teaching for that particular nurse.

Um, talking about the health department again, there are different types of activities that you could assist with as a student in that setting. You could assist with some types of teaching for maybe new Moms, you could assist with immunizations and screenings, you can work on disaster drills, anything that’s available that they have for you that you could work on that would be great.

As far as occupational health departments within a company, very often larger companies will have a setting where they will have a nurse that works there to kind of oversee the health of their employees. So they might actually do physical exams, they might do some teaching, uh, that type of thing. And a good place to start would be in your hospital because very often your hospital has some type of a unit or a department where they’re overseeing the health of all the employees of the hospital so that’s a good place to start as well. Also, if we look at long term care of assisted living facilities in your community, very often they’re going to employ a nurse that plans activities for their clients, they might do health teaching, they might do well checks on their clients so those are all different possibilities of where you could actually find a preceptor in the community setting. And, like I had mentioned before, additional information about preceptors for Nursing 407 can be found in your program’s clinical packet on MyOnline.

So how can you find a preceptor? I kind of talked about this on the previous slide but again contact your friends, contact acquaintances you might have on Facebook. I know there was one of our students that were Facebook friends because she was one of our students in the undergraduate program and she just put it out there on her Facebook page: “Hey, does anybody know a preceptor I can have in this particular setting?” And she had numerous responses of – of suggestions. So that’s one way to do it. And, like I had mentioned with schools, uh, maybe find a school nurse there, if you know a parent or you’re a parent of a child in school and that’s how you can find out the name of the school nurse, that would be a really, really good idea. Also, it’s probably not as helpful if you just call the school and say: “Hey, do you have a school nurse? Could I follow them?” That’s probably not a good way to go about doing it. So having that acquaintance that gives you kind of a foot in the door is going to be helpful. I’ve already mentioned about Occupational Health Departments within your hospital, uh, and then also companies in your community to see if they have an Occupational Health Department.

So what is required for clinicals and when is it due? Uh, what’s required is prior to the clinical start date there are health requirements that are listed on MyOnline so immunizations, your physical exam. You will also need to have a certified background check and a drug screen. You’ll need malpractice insurance and evidence that you are CPR certified. And again, all of those are listed very clearly on MyOnline. Some other requirements that you’ll need to think about is that sometimes the clinical site where you’re going to be doing your clinical, uh, hours might have some additional requirements so you’ll need to ask your clinical agency contact person to see if there’s anything.

So what is required for clinical and when is it due? Again, it’s prior to the start date. There are certain videos on MyOnline that you’ll need to watch such as OSHA, Tyson and HIPAA and what you will do is you will scan and e-mail those signature forms into Stephanie and Stephie Poignant you’ll be hearing her name or seeing her name quite a bit. There’s a preceptor packet and so each program has its own preceptor packet. It’s located on MyOnline and it’s under the clinical tab and so you’ll find it listed there. Some contents of the clinical packet will be the initial agreement and so your preceptor needs to fill out that and sign it. There are also some precepting tips that are also available for your preceptor and there’s also an evaluation form. All of us – all of our students need to have a clinical agency agreement completed wherever they’re doing their clinical agency and so you’ll be working with Julie Schifeling, our credentialing coordinator, to complete that. So we’ll need to do that as soon as you can.

So when you submit your preceptor packet we give you instructions to scan it and then e-mail the entire packet to Stephanie at that e-mail address. Please don’t take pictures with your phones – those do not turn out very clear so you just need to scan the documents and then send those to Stephanie. And then you will be receiving an e-mail from me notifying whether or not your preceptor has been approved. If you have any questions ahead of time that certainly you can e-mail me questions about if a particular preceptor is going to be approved and I can give you some tips ahead of time.

So when do you start clinicals and what is your schedule going to look like? Once you’ve received my e-mail letter that your preceptor has been approved and your clinical agency agreement is complete then you’re just going to discuss your clinical schedule with your Nursing 407 instructor. And as far as what your schedule is going to look like that’s determined by you and your preceptor so it’s all individualized and you will just want to complete the 50 hours in that one semester so the goal is 50 hours.

Some commonly asked questions. What if I know a nurse who’s willing to be a preceptor but she doesn’t have a Masters degree – could she still be a preceptor for Nursing 407? Depending upon the potential preceptor’s work experience she or he could be a preceptor for you. They don’t necessarily have to have an advanced degree. For example, depending upon what state in which you live and the school’s requirements. For example a school nurse may not have to have a Masters degree, maybe they have a Baccalaureate degree, uh, and so again if you kind of run that question by me in advance I’ll be able to help you with that so that you’re not preparing a preceptor packet for someone that won’t work. Also the second bullet here talks about looking at your hospital’s wellness program. Sometimes you’re going to have a nurse in charge of that but it also might be someone who has a degree in like Community Wellness and I know that I did approve a preceptor for this past semester where a student had a Bachelor’s degree but she did all the kinds of things for this community in the hospital and the student was really engaging in those activities in that community setting.

And then we do have some resources that are available to you and there’s a resource list on the side of this slide. We do have PDF’s of the agreements that you’re going to need so the preceptor agreement, your clinical agency agreement, all those are available on MyOnline but they’re also – you can click on the right-hand side of this slide to get the information as well. There are also clinical packets that are available at MyOnline so if you go to MyOnline and on the left-hand side click on clinical and then you’re going to see the clinical packet. So Nursing 407 can be taken by students who are in the MSN/FNP program and there are specific clinical packets for each of those tracts. So I wish you good luck in finding your preceptor for Nursing 407. Again, if you have any questions you can e-mail me and I’ll be happy to answer them, uh, as full as possible.