Meaningful work has been done to support staff and clinicians in their role as preceptors, contributing to the goal of improving the student experience. Two excellent examples of innovative and collaborative programming that support preceptors in their development as teachers are highlighted.
Prior to 2012, there was no systematic, evidence-informed approach that supported St. Michael’s Hospital staff nurses who assumed a preceptor role to teach undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Despite having mentorship education on an ad-hoc basis, the programming did not effectively address the unique needs of preceptors and how they can best teach and evaluate students. A different knowledge base and skillset is required to teach nursing students compared to providing expert clinical care to patients and families.
St. Michael’s nursing staff shared concerns that they wanted to better support their preceptees, including students and new nursing hires, but they needed better access to tools and resources to do so. As a result of this feedback, a four-hour interactive and evidence-based Nursing Preceptorship workshop was developed and is now offered on an on-going basis.
Nurses who attend the workshop are provided a number of practical hands-on tools that they can take away and use in their preceptor roles. The workshop provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to be an effective preceptor to nursing students.
St. Michael’s has learned how committed preceptors are to the student experience. Many attendees left the workshop with a renewed sense of “excitement to precept again.” This enthusiasm is a powerful driver of student success. Words like “relevant,” “learning,” and “informative” highlight both the attendees’ satisfaction with the workshop and the impact and enhanced awareness that results from their participation.
The Teaching and Learning for Collaboration Program held by the Health Disciplines leadership team is another example of preceptor support programming. Adapted from the Centre for Faculty Development Series, this five-module program provides facilitated interactive workshops that teach the basics and best practices in education. Since launching the program in 2012, Health Disciplines has expanded the program and opened it to all St. Michael's staff and physicians looking to learn more about best practices in education.
To date, there have been 57 staff and clinicians who have completed the entire five-module program, including a number of staff from Health Disciplines, Nursing, Medicine, Administrative and Operational. In an effort to create a community of practice of educators, many participants have gone on to complete a Train the Trainer initiative, which enables former participants to now facilitate the program. To date, 12 people have completed this program and there is a growing community of facilitators who are enthusiastic about enhancing their facilitation skillset and sharing their new education on best practice knowledge.
Infographic highlighting facts from St. Michael’s Hospital Teaching and Learning for Collaboration program