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New nurses and students benefit from preceptor program

Toronto, April 3, 2014

By Stephen van Hoof

Avinash Solomon (left) and Qasim Mohiuddin (right) were originally paired together through the St. Michael’s Nursing Preceptorship Program.
Avinash Solomon (left) and Qasim Mohiuddin (right) were originally paired together through the St. Michael’s Nursing Preceptorship Program. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

Qasim Mohiuddin, a former nursing student who now works full time at St. Michael’s Hospital, attributes much of his success to Avinash Solomon, a veteran nurse with more than 10 years’ experience in internal medicine.

Mohiuddin studied nursing at the University of Toronto and completed his final placement at St. Michael’s in General Internal Medicine. For many months on 14CC, Mohiuddin worked side by side with Solomon under a “preceptorship” program that pairs student and newly hired nurses with an experienced nurse.

Through this partnership the experienced nurse teaches, coaches and guides his or her student on everything from patient care to administrative duties. The two nurses are generally scheduled to work the same shifts so that the junior nurse can shadow the experienced nurse. Students and new nurses gain clinical and socialization skills, knowledge, increased confidence and satisfaction.

“I would describe my relationship with Avinash as tough love,” said Mohiuddin. “From the beginning he explained to me that he was hard on his students, but only to ensure that they would be successful going forward. I was grateful for that.”

Nurses at St. Michael’s who are interested in becoming a “preceptor” attend a four-hour workshop that teaches them about roles and responsibilities, different learning styles, communication skills and how to be interactive and provide effective feedback.

“We all have an obligation as professionals working in health care to work with students and newly hired staff,” said Murray Krock, the corporate education leader who facilitates the program. “It’s important that we share our knowledge and expertise as we prepare for future generations of nurses and other health professionals.”

Krock launched the program in November 2012 with his professional practice colleague, Ashley Graat. The program is made possible through funds the hospital receives through the Ontario health ministry’s Nursing Graduate Guarantee initiative.

Mohiuddin said the preceptorship program “really provides you with a good chance to work on your clinical skills under the guidance of a veteran nurse.”

Mohiuddin has decided to give back to the program and will take on the role of a preceptor in April.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.