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Positive precepting

Identifying NP student learning levels and needs

Pearson, Tamera (Professor, Director of FNP Program); Hensley, Tonya (Assistant Professor FNP Program)

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: February 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 124–130
doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000106
Review - Systematic

Background and Purpose: Clinical preceptors are vital partners in the education of nurse practitioner (NP) students. This article describes NP student learning stages and proposes strategies preceptors can use to facilitate precepting NP students who enter clinical rotations at varied learner levels.

Methods: Searches were conducted in the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and PubMed and EBSCOhost interfaces to MEDLINE using terms related to NPs, students, higher education, and preceptorship. Because only 10 publications met the inclusion criteria focusing on precepting NP students at different levels, literature from related health fields are included in the discussion.

Conclusions: Benner's Novice to Expert Model is applied to NP education in primary care settings to describe the clinical levels of learning. Clinical teaching methods that focus on either preceptor- or student-led communication are described, followed by a discussion of the association between methods and levels of learners.

Implications for Practice: Nurse practitioners who precept NP students at various levels of their clinical learning can apply specific teaching methods that are delineated in this article. By recognizing the unique needs of NP students at different levels, preceptors can help facilitate their experiential learning.

School of Nursing, Western Carolina University, Asheville, NC

Correspondence: Tamera Pearson, Professor, Director of FNP Program, School of Nursing, Western Carolina University, 28 Schenck Parkway, Asheville, NC 28803. Tel: 828-654-6519; E-mail:

Competing interests: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received March 26, 2018

Received in revised form July 01, 2018

Accepted July 09, 2018

© 2019 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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