Preceptorship framework launched for nurses in London

A new preceptorship framework for nurses working in London has been launched by the Capital Nurse programme.

A new preceptorship framework for nurses working in London has been launched by the Capital Nurse programme.

Capital Nurse lead Chris Caldwell. Picture: Barney Newman

Many hospitals already offer new starters preceptorships to to give them the confidence and skills they need for their specific workplaces.

The new London framework, aimed primarily for newly-registered nurses, can also be used by overseas nurses and those who have returned to practice.

It is being overseen by the Capital Nurse programme, which was established in July 2015 to standardise education and training throughout London and to promote best practice.

The programme hopes to provide all nurses with a ‘passport’ of qualifications to ensure their skills are recognised across London trusts, thereby reducing costly and unnecessary retraining when nurses move hospital.

Capital Nurse lead Chris Caldwell told Nursing Standard it was ‘fantastic’ that trusts across London had agreed on a framework and would soon engage with it.

She said: ‘We want our student nurses to take up their first jobs in London. If there is a good preceptorship programme in place and backed by Capital nurse, it will help attract them to posts.

‘We know that where NHS trusts have invested in preceptorship – Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust is a good example – there is better retention.’


The framework has been designed to be something for trusts to work from rather than to follow to the letter. It describes the minimum of what is expected of nurses.

‘It’s a good foundation stone,’ explained Ms Caldwell.

The Capital Nurse preceptorship framework’s guidelines include:

  • Preceptorship should take a minimum of six months, but the recommended length is 12 months. ‘It is an organisational decision to wait until a newly registered nurse receives a pin number.’
  • There should be a minimum supernumerary period of two weeks to cover inductions.
  • Protected time should be allocated to preceptor and preceptee.
  • The preceptee and preceptor should work alongside each other for at least four working days in the first month.
  • Formal meetings, interim meetings and a final sign-off meeting should be organised.
  • Preceptees should be encouraged to develop their portfolios towards Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation during their preceptorship.
  • Preceptors should be nurses with a minimum of 12 months experience. ‘Research shows the best preceptors are those who are volunteers and have more recent experience of being newly registered.’

The success of the framework will be monitored through retention after one year and two years, staff engagement, patient-user feedback and each trust’s Care Quality Commission ratings.

Capital Nurse professional lead Jenny Halse said: ‘It is a “live” document that will evolve as we get feedback from organisations, registered nurses and students.’

This means it can adapted to suit the education changes that the NMC is expected to publish in 2018, she added.

‘As a document it has not been piloted, but it is a culmination of different preceptorship programmes,’ Ms Halse said.

She hopes the framework will help facilitate collaborative preceptorship schemes in small organisations where only a few nurses are employed.

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