OBJECTIVES : In this study, we explore the ‘make or break’ challenges faced in the preceptor-preceptee relationship.
The preceptor-preceptee relationship needs to evolve from a teacher-student dynamic to a collegial partnership.
METHODS : This qualitative study used focus group interviews which explored challenges experienced by
preceptors and preceptees. The preceptors included ten clinical teaching assistants and 14 clinical professionals.
The preceptees included ten student nurses. In total, we interviewed 34 participants. The interviews were audio
recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed.
RESULTS : Both preceptors and preceptees experienced challenges in developing healthy relationships. Preceptors
felt that they were committed and trained to teach, and that fulfilling an extended role was beyond their reach.
Preceptees had difficulty realizing nursing practice and transitioning from a student to a professional role. Both
parties identified strategies for developing healthy professional relationships. Preceptors could extend their
professional role to include a mentorship facet. Preceptees could be exposed to diverse clinical environments with
guided transitioning to facilitate the change from student to professional.
CONCLUSION : Student nurses need a caring environment to transition from a student role to a professional role. The
relationship based care model undoubtedly influences the teaching and learning process by fostering a caring
attitude and commitment to teaching and learning. Preceptees develop a sense of belonging and are motivated to
accept and adapt to practical realities.