Nurses׳ experiences of being a preceptor for new nurses: A hermeneutic phenomenological approach
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Introduction: Preceptors play an important role in transition process of novice nurses. Establishing balance between caring role and teaching role can be a challenge most of the time. Given the shortage of studies on preceptors’ experience of new nurse preceptorship, the present research was carried out to explore lived experiences of new nurse preceptors. Method: This research is based on the qualitative approach and of hermeneutic phenomenological type. Participants were six new nurse preceptors in a third level pediatric teaching hospital in Northwest Iran who were selected by means of purposive sampling. Data were collected during nine months from July 2014 to March 2015 through in-depth personal interviews. Transcriptions were analyzed with the interpretive approach using Diekelmann et al.’s method of hermeneutic phenomenological analysis and MAXQDA10 software. Results: Data analysis revealed the following five relational themes: protection; Supportless ally; experiencing moral distress; professional commitment, and developing a sense of achievement. A constitutive pattern, the highest form of interpretation that emerges from the data, was being challenged and an opportunity for growth. The constitutive pattern and relational themes revealed new nurse preceptors’ lived experiences of difficulties and rewards of this role from preceptors’ perspective, and therefore, a deep understanding of their experiences was provided. Conclusion: The preceptorship of new nurses is challenging and stressful. Preceptors endure several roles concurrently, thus, their workload should be balanced appropriately in order not to compromise with one another and evade burnout. The preceptors need to be well supported and their contribution be appropriately recognized. Setting clear objectives and realistic expectations, and having clear policies and guidelines in place should help develop a preceptorship program that is more likely to bring about positive outcomes for preceptors, the new nurses and health care system in general.