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Preceptorships should be at least six months for every new nurse

With longer preceptorships seen to improve nurse retention, NHS England’s new national framework recommends 12-month programmes as gold standard

With longer preceptorships seen to improve nurse retention, NHS England’s new national framework recommends 12-month programmes as gold standard

Newly registered nurses should be given access to preceptorship programmes that last at least six months, a new framework has set out.

Framework sets out gold standard for support of newly registered nurses

Following a review of programmes across the country, NHS England has launched a national preceptorship framework for nursing in a bid to create consistency and set a ‘gold standard’ for NHS organisations for supporting newly registered nurses.

Standard preceptorship programmes should last a

With longer preceptorships seen to improve nurse retention, NHS England’s new national framework recommends 12-month programmes as gold standard

With longer preceptorships seen to improve nurse retention, NHS England’s new national framework recommends 12-month programmes as gold standard
Picture: Nathan Clarke

Newly registered nurses should be given access to preceptorship programmes that last at least six months, a new framework has set out.

Framework sets out gold standard for support of newly registered nurses

Following a review of programmes across the country, NHS England has launched a national preceptorship framework for nursing in a bid to create consistency and set a ‘gold standard’ for NHS organisations for supporting newly registered nurses.

Standard preceptorship programmes should last a minimum of six months, while the gold standard should be a minimum of 12 months, the framework states.

It also sets out a supernumerary period for nurses undertaking preceptorship and protected time to complete these hours. A minimum of two weeks’ supernumerary – or 75 hours – should be offered to each newly registered nurse.

Supernumerary time allows a newly registered nurse to become familiar with the clinical environment they will be working in, including orientation and time to complete necessary training, without being counted in staffing numbers.

‘The gold standard will include additional protected time for the preceptee for development and meetings with their preceptor,’ the framework states.

‘For the gold standard, 12 hours’ protected time is proposed, and this should be included in the organisation’s preceptorship policy.’

Trusts will be expected to appoint preceptorship leads

Other requirements set out in the framework include an initial preceptorship meeting within two weeks of a newly registered nurse joining an organisation, a minimum of two more meetings before the end of the programme and individual learning plans depending on their needs.

Organisations will also be expected to appoint a preceptorship lead to implement and oversee preceptorship programmes.

Preceptorships are structured programmes designed to help newly registered nurses translate their knowledge into everyday practice and involve supervision and support from an experienced colleague.

It comes after researchers from Middlesex University found there was wide variation in the length, format and programme quality, even though effective preceptorship is seen as key to improving nurse retention.

Researchers find longer preceptorships ‘likely to be more effective’

The study, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to inform the development of a national preceptorship framework, recommends extending the length of preceptorship to at least one year because longer programmes ‘are likely to be more effective’.

Other recommendations include introducing a set amount of professionally regulated supervision time for all newly qualified nurses.

Current Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) guidance says preceptorship can vary in length depending on the needs of the nurse and the organisation they work for.

NMC executive director of professional practice Geraldine Walters said: ‘NHS England’s framework confirms that the responsibility for ensuring preceptorship lies with employers. Preceptorship is critically important in helping to welcome, integrate, and retain newly registered professionals into their new team and place of work.

‘It’s also important for preceptors to have adequate preparation for their important role, as the requirements are different from what is required to support and assess students working towards professional registration with the NMC.’


Find out more

NHS England: National preceptorship framework for nursing


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