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The Department of Health (2010) defines preceptorship as:

"A period of structured transition for the newly registered practitioner during which he or she will be supported by a preceptor, to develop their confidence as an autonomous professional, refine skills, values and behaviours and to continue on their journey of life-long learning" 

Although traditionally associated with nurses and midwives, the principles of preceptorship apply to all newly registered practitioners and should be used to support the transition of new registrants across all professions. The principles also apply to those undertaking new roles which may or may not be registered roles, including Physicians Associates, Assistant Practitioners and Nursing Associates.

Preceptorship is not:

  • Mandatory training
  • Induction to employment
  • Assessment of professional competence
  • Performance management
  • Mentorship (which should be used to support and assess competence in pre-registration students)
  • Clinical supervision

Preceptorship should be available as standard not just for new registrants but also for those entering new areas of practice. The list below is not exhaustive but includes examples of those for who preceptorship should be available as best practice:

  • New registrants on completion of pre-registration training
  • Healthcare professionals returning to practice after a break in practice of 5 years and over
  • Healthcare professionals returning to frontline healthcare delivery ('Back to the floor')
  • International recruits entering practice in the UK
  • New and emerging roles, for example Nursing Associates
  • Healthcare professionals taking on a new field of practice, for example health visiting
  • Healthcare professionals taking on a new field of practice, for example health visiting
  • Healthcare professionals entering practice in a different setting, for example health visiting primary care from an acute background, returning to the NHS after a period in private healthcare provision.



    Preceptorship in Yorkshire and the Humber

    The Health Education England Preceptorship Standards were developed and published in 2015. In Yorkshire and the Humber, many of our service provider organisations already had Preceptorship Programmes in place for new registrants, so in order to identify any gaps in provision, explore current practice and identify where further development and support was needed, a survey was developed. The survey was sent to all NHS service providers and gave a snapshot of current practice.

    Following this, guidelines for the best practice in preceptorship, which were developed in the West Midlands, were adapted by the Yorkshire and Humber preceptorship group to reflect local needs and priorities. These guidelines are available in the related documents section at the bottom of this page. 

    For further information, please click on the links below:

    • Preceptees
    • Preceptors
    • Organisations
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Useful documents and links


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