Essential Competencies for Nurse Preceptors

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Nursing programs partner with a variety of clinical practice settings to provide student nurses expert clinical training. This essential partnership assures students are prepared to provide quality patient care. Within these practice sites, staff registered nurses (RNs) provide nursing students rich clinical learning experiences within a safe yet challenging learning environment. These RNs are identified as Nurse Preceptors. While many clinical practice sites have programs that prepare staff nurses to precept new employees, most programs do not include specific preparation for working with nursing students.

This Preceptor Development Program is designed to prepare registered nurses to construct high quality, rich, and effective learning experiences. Staff RNs who participate in preceptor development programs report more confidence and satisfaction in the preceptor role. This effect translates to the student’s learning as well. Students who have well prepared clinical preceptors describe effective and valued learning experiences.

Topic areas covered in these modules include:

1. Preceptor roles and responsibilities
2. Assessing learner needs and learning styles
3. Clinical teaching
4. Critical thinking and clinical decision making
5. Legal issues in preceptorships
6. Communication and conflict resolution
7. Managing learning experiences of culturally and generationally diverse students

Verified learners may receive 8 continuing education units (CE's) from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

The University of Maryland School of Nursing is an accredited provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.


Patricia D. Franklin, PhD, RN
Patricia D. Franklin, PhD, RN

Dr. Franklin’s career is distinguished by achievements in practice, program management, academia and professional development. While in primary care practice, she designed and taught interprofessional programs for patient populations; collaborating with community resources and experts that support family and child development. Franklin also served on a number of professional association, government, and coalition boards and committees. Within these forums she held appointed and elected leadership positions including president of a national professional association and served as their representative on major policy issues. Transitioning to the non-profit sector, Dr. Franklin successfully managed a multi-year, multi-site, John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) grant that began as a $2 million award and over 10 years grew to $26 million in funding. Dr. Franklin currently holds the position of assistant professor in the Department of Partnerships, Professional Education and Practice at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, teaching health policy, health systems leadership in graduate programs. In addition, she serves as Director of the Office of Professional Education (OPE), developing professional continuing education (CE) programs as well as launching and chairing an interprofessional CE consortium with colleagues from the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Social Work and Law and was awarded a $20K intramural grant to build the University’s interprofessional CE portfolio. This consortium also produces an annual Interprofessional Forum on Ethics and Religion in Health Care that attracts over 100 attendees from the community. This consortium also collaborates in statewide initiatives, e.g. to improve antibiotic stewardship in long-term care facilitates. The OPE works with multiple internal and external stakeholders to design online, simulation, and traditional CE accredited learning activities. Dr. Franklin also served as the Director of the Nurse Leadership Institute at the School of Nursing. As PI on this $2.5 million, 5-year state awarded grant to build nurse leadership capacity in Maryland, Dr. Franklin designed and received IRB approval for a longitudinal research project to study the effect of the leadership development program on 5 cohorts of participants.

Michelle Moulton DNP, RN, PCCN-K, CHSE
Michelle Moulton DNP, RN, PCCN-K, CHSE
Dr. Michelle Moulton is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland's School of Nursing. She has been teaching entry-level nursing students since 2010. Michelle’s specialty interest area is in healthcare simulation and debriefing. Additionally, Dr. Moulton provides professional development for nursing faculty and healthcare interprofessionals related to developing feedback, debriefing and preceptor teaching skills. She received both basic and advanced simulation instructor training at the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston, Massachusetts. Michelle has a clinical background in Critical Care and Adult Med/Surg nursing and residential summer camp nursing. In 2019, she completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at University of Maryland, School of Nursing. Her scholarly work in this program focused on implementing a simulation-based education program to improve acute care nurses’ response to rapid patient deterioration using situational awareness skills.