Nurses working in academic settings play an important role in preparing students for their first role as a registered nurse

By Dr Jane Wray, Senior Lecturer in Nursing, and Senior Clinical Nurse Advisor (National Preceptorship Programme) @livinginhope

and Desiree Cox, Programme Lead, National Preceptorship Programme, @desireecox07

The launch of the National Preceptorship Framework for Nursing in England1 in October 2022 provides important information for students and nurses preparing the future nursing workforce. The new framework sets out standards for delivery of preceptorship within organisations employing nurses. It builds on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Principles for Preceptorship2 and offers a framework of structured support to those new to the profession3,4. Preceptorship is central to initiatives to retain early career nurses5,6.

The new framework provides information for academics and students on what high quality preceptorship looks like.  Preceptorship supports the new registrant to embed knowledge and skills and grow in confidence and a structured formal approach (such as preceptorship) is essential to new registrants during the transitionary period4,5. In the UK, preceptorship is associated with the first year of professional practice following registration with the professional body.

However, decisions as to first destination role as a NRN starts long before registration. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) offer a range of career focused support to their students, for example, activities such as career fairs, support for job applications, interview preparation and practice. Programmes may also include specific curricula on preparing for registration and managing the transition, and these provide opportunities to educate students about preceptorship – both what it is – and what it isn’t.  Nurses working in academic settings and preparing the future nursing workforce have a key role to play raising student awareness of the value and benefit of preceptorship to their learning and development during the early career stage. There is also some excellent guidance for students on how to start thinking about and planning their careers7.

As students start considering their first destination role and the diversity of careers on offer in nursing, the new framework1 offers guidance on what a formal structured programme of support might look like and its’ importance to patient care and safety. Whilst many factors influence this first career choice, such as clinical interests and positive experiences on placements, organisations offering high quality preceptorship will become increasingly appealing to many.

More information on the National Preceptorship Programme can be found at NHS England National preceptorship programme 2022 – National Workforce Skills Development Unit


  1. NHS England (2022) National preceptorship framework for nursing NHS England » National preceptorship framework for nursing)
  2. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2020) Principles for Preceptorship
  3. Aldosari, N., Pryjmachuk, S., Cooke, H. (2021) Newly qualified nurses’ transition from learning to doing: A scoping review. Int. J. Nur. Stud., 13, 103792
  4. Brook, J., Aitken, L., Webb, R., MacLaren, J., Salmon, D. (2019). Characteristics of successful interventions to reduce turnover and increase retention of early career nurses: A systematic review. Int. J. Nur. Stud., 91 47–59.
  5. Wray, J., Watson, R., Gibson, H., Barrett, D. (2020) Approaches used to Enhance Transition and Retention of Newly Qualified Nurses (NQNs): A Rapid Evidence Assessment. Nurse Education Today.
  6. Ke, Y.T., Kuo, C.C., Hung, C.H. (2017) The effects of nursing preceptorship on new nurses’ competence, professional socialization, job satisfaction and retention: A systematic review. J Adv Nurs 73 (10), 2296-2305.
  7. Forde-Johnson C (2018) How to Thrive as a Newly Qualified Nurse. Lantern Publishing Ltd


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