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NMC develops five new principles of preceptorship to support newly qualified nurses

RCN welcomes health regulator’s scheme that offers structured support for new nurses and improves staff retention
Image shows newly qualified nurse Idi Arewa (right in white) being preceptored by Sucad Yousuf as part of  the North Middlesex University Hospital’s preceptorship programme

RCN welcomes health regulators scheme that offers structured support for new nurses and improves staff retention

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has published five new principles of preceptorship to help employers support newly qualified nurses, nursing associates and midwives.

Preceptorship programmes offer structured support needed for new nurses to convert their knowledge into practice, according to the regulator.

In effective preceptorship models, newly qualified staff are supported by a nominated preceptor, the document states.

Health Education England has cited the importance of preceptorship schemes as a way of improving staff retention.

Five principles of the

RCN welcomes health regulator’s scheme that offers structured support for new nurses and improves staff retention


Sucad Yousuf (left) supports newly qualified nurse Idi Arewa as part of North Middlesex University Hospital’s
preceptorship programme. Picture: Nathan Clarke

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has published five new principles of preceptorship to help employers support newly qualified nurses, nursing associates and midwives. 

Preceptorship programmes offer structured support needed for new nurses to convert their knowledge into practice, according to the regulator. 

In effective preceptorship models, newly qualified staff are supported by a nominated preceptor, the document states.

Health Education England has cited the importance of preceptorship schemes as a way of improving staff retention. 

Five principles of the NMC preceptorship scheme

The NMC's principles cover:

  1. Organisational culture and preceptorship.
  2. Quality and oversight of preceptorship.
  3. Preceptee empowerment.
  4. Preparing preceptors for their supporting role.
  5. The preceptorship programme.

Preceptorships can vary in length and individual countries, and regions or organisations may set minimum and/or maximum durations for the preceptorship. 

Preceptorship programmes should include activities designed to welcome and integrate the preceptee into their team and place of work. 

Processes should be in place to monitor, evaluate and review preceptorship programmes

The document warns there should be sufficient preceptor capacity to support all of those who require preceptorship, and that processes should be in place to monitor, evaluate and review the programmes.

Preceptors supporting newly qualified staff should receive ongoing support and actively engage in professional development, the document states. 

NMC director of professional practice Geraldine Walters said the principles had been developed in collaboration, including input from the UK’s chief nursing officers. 

She said: ‘Our principles bring together these common characteristics that the successful preceptorship programmes today have.

‘We hope they will support all employers to develop programmes that set their newly registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates up for success.'

An RCN spokesperson said: ‘We know that the transition between learning and professionalism can be challenging and anything to support new nurses through that process is welcome.’

Related material

NMC – Principles of preceptorship


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