Exploring nurse preceptors' perceptions of benefits, support and commitment to the preceptor role in the Western Cape.
Background: A preceptor is defined as a specialized tutor who gives practical training to the student in the practice settings. Preceptors are frequently used to orientate nursing students to prepare them for their duties as professional nurses. In the Western Cape Province professional nurses attend a training programme to prepare them for the role of preceptor. Following the training it is unclear how the trained nurse preceptors' perceive their preparation for the role. The perceptions of preceptors may also influence their commitment to their role. Aims and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the interrelationships among preceptors' perceptions of benefits and rewards of, support for and commitment to the role. A conceptual framework guided the study which replicated previous studies that explored nurse preceptors' perceptions. Research Methodology: A descriptive, correlational design was used in this study to address the research questions. A quantitative approach was used to establish the perceptions of nurse preceptors' benefits, support and commitment to the role. The convenience sample was drawn from the preceptors (n=60) who completed the preceptor training programme at the University of the Western Cape. Instrumentation for the study included the following scales: Preceptor's Perceptions of Benefits and Rewards Scale, the Preceptor's Perceptions of Support Scale and the Commitment to the Preceptor Role Scale. Data analysis was performed through SPSS 20.0 to produce both descriptive and inferential statistics and to establish the relationships between the variables. Results and Recommendations: Statistical significance was examined and correlation between variables were analysed. The findings indicated that nurse preceptors were committed to their role: the workload of nurse preceptors needs to be refined and in-service training should be given to the nursing staff in relation to the goals of the nurse preceptor in the clinical and education units. The findings of this study will add to what is known about preceptors' perceptions and may assist in guiding the evaluation of the preceptorship programme. In addition, the results may inform nurse managers about the perceived benefits, rewards and support required by preceptors, thus adding to the body of knowledge about clinical teaching and learning. Ethical Considerations: Ethical clearance was sought from the Ethics Committee of the University of the Western Cape and informed consent was obtained from the participants. iv