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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 645125, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Gradually Guiding Nursing Students through Their Capstone Course: Registered Nurse Preceptors Share Their Experiences

The University of Kansas School of Nursing, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Mail Stop 4043, Kansas City, KS 66160-7502, USA

Received 3 December 2010; Accepted 22 February 2011

Academic Editor: Diane M. Billings

Copyright © 2011 David L. Martin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Professional precepted immersion courses (capstone) have become the standard as a means to prepare senior nursing students to enter the workforce. Preceptors have a significant role in developing the student nurse, yet exactly how to prepare preceptors for this role has been an ongoing discussion. This qualitative inquiry explored the educational needs of clinical registered nurse (RN) preceptors who work directly with senior nursing students in a professional precepted immersion (capstone) course. A descriptive qualitative design was used to examine preceptors responses to a prepared set of questions about their educational needs. Results showed that preceptors have three distinct sets of learning needs: the need to know the expectations of their role, wanting to know how best to role model for the student, and knowing how to socialize the student into the profession of nursing. Overall, preceptors communicated their desire and commitment to doing the best job possible. They also clearly stated their expectation of faculty to have a physical presence on the nursing unit that included being proactive in resolving mismatches and exposing the student to the roles of provider of care, leader and manager of care, and member of profession.