The American Heritage Dictionary online defines "preceptor" as:
1. A teacher, an instructor.
2. An expert or specialist, such as a physician, who gives practical experience and training to a student, expecially of medicine or nursing.
3. The head of a preceptory.
Chickerella and Lutz (1991) define preceptorship as "An individual teaching/learning method in which each student is assignes to a particular preceptor...so that she can expereince day-to-day practice with a role model and resource person."
A preceptor is an experienced practitioner who provides role support and learning experiences to student and staff learners. A preceptor works with the learner for a defined period of time to assist the learner in acquiring new competencies required for safe, ethical and quality practice (PreceptorDevelopment.org). http://www.preceptordevelopment.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30Itemid=43
Working individually and in small groups with students as a preceptor in a clinical setting calls for skills that are different than classroom teaching skills. The Education Scholar Program is a Teaching Excellence and Scholarship Development Resource for Health Professions Educators based on the belief that teaching is a respected scholarly activity in the higher education community, and as such, occupies a place of honor with other faculty work and scholarship. http://www.educationscholar.org/index_eds_about.htm
Key roles a preceptor might perform:
1. Assist and support learning experiences for the student.
2. Facilitate the development of knowledge, skills, performance, and professional attitudes.
3. Supervise, guide, and act as a role model, coach, clinical instructor.
4. Create a supportive teaching and learning environment for the student.
5. Assess and adapt to the learning needs of the student.
6. Utilize sound pedagogical practices in teaching and learning.
7. Provide opportunity for hands-on skills and experiences.
Preceptor Development Resources: