Sue Neal wants student nurses to see how much community is involved in community health.
That’s why the Executive Director of Battle Ground Healthcare, a nonprofit, faith-based clinic near Vancouver, Washington, often takes nurses she’s precepting to meetings of committees and stakeholders.
“I like students to go to meetings so they get a feel for all of the different things going on in terms of providing care and services for populations,” said Neal, who’s been a WSU College of Nursing preceptor for four years. “I want them to get a big picture of what’s happening in the community, because that’s where nursing is really going.”
Neal mostly precepts RN-BSN students at Washington State University, though she has worked with a student getting her Master of Nursing degree. She serves as a preceptor one or two times a year.
The secret to a good preceptor experience is the match, she said. “It’s really taking a look at what the student’s background is, what their interests are, and letting them know about the experience you have available for them.”
She added, “I always find out what their objectives and expectations are, and work with them to help them meet their objectives. Giving them time and investing in the student is essential.”
While nursing preceptors are volunteers, Neal said that for her, it’s time well-spent.
“I love being a preceptor, and I’ve gotten great students. I just continually think wow, what great nurses are coming out of WSU.”