National preceptorship model for nursing

This National preceptorship model summarises the National preceptorship framework for nursing and should be used alongside it.

The purpose of the preceptorship is to provide support, guidance and development for all newly registered practitioners to build confidence and develop further competence as they transition from student to autonomous professional. Preceptorship may also be provided for nurses transitioning from one role or setting to another.

The core purpose and expected outcome is improved retention for newly registered nurses.

Intended recipients

Core standard: all newly registered nurses and nursing associates.

Gold standard: all newly registered nurses and nursing associates

Length of preceptorship programme*

Core standard: minimum of six months from joining the organisation or receiving PIN.

Gold standard: 12 months from joining the organisation or receiving PIN.

*Where accelerated programmes are used, support should be available for six months.

Supernumerary period

Core standard: minimum of two weeks’ supernumerary for preceptee (or equivalent to 75 hours).

Gold standard: additional protected time throughout the programme for preceptor and preceptee included in preceptorship policy for organisation.

Meeting requirements (preceptor and preceptee) 

Core standard: minimum of three meetings:

  • within first two weeks of joining the organisation or receiving their PIN
  • middle of programme
  • completion of preceptorship programme.

Gold standard: as a minimum, meetings every two months including:

  • within first week
  • middle of programme
  • completion of preceptorship programme.

Roles (with expectations)

Core standard:

  • preceptor (protected time of eight hours per year)
  • preceptee (participation in organisation preceptorship programme). 

Gold standard:

  • preceptor (protected time of 12 hours per year)
  • preceptorship lead
  • preceptorship champion/ambassador/link.


Core standard: 

  • equivalent level or senior to preceptee
  • minimum 12 months’ experience post-registration
  • attending initial training
  • refer to role descriptor for detail.

Gold standard:

  • equivalent level or senior to preceptee
  • minimum 12 months’ experience post-registration
  • role expectations
  • minimum 12 months’ experience in setting
  • no more than one preceptor to two preceptees
  • initial training
  • ongoing support and training.

Preceptorship lead

Core standard: 

  • central point of contact within organisation/integrated care system
  • responsible for programme co-ordination
  • monitoring and evaluating preceptorship
  • development and review of programme and policy.

Gold standard: in addition to the requirements set out in the core standard:

  • development programme for preceptors
  • support for preceptors
  • develop and deliver support network for preceptors
  • maintain register of preceptors
  • promotion of value and benefits of preceptorship within own organisation
  • develop and support network of preceptorship champions.

Core elements

Core standard:

  • preceptorship policy
  • formal, structured programme of learning
  • standard documentation across organisation
  • role descriptions
  • protected time
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • development of preceptors/preceptor training

Gold standard: 

  • senior responsible officer at board level
  • protected time for preceptors (minimum 12 hours)
  • meeting templates
  • development and support for preceptors
  • preceptorship mandated across organisation
  • audit trails to demonstrate compliance, evaluation, and feedback

Indicative content of development programme

Core standard: 

  • facilitated learning/study days (flexible dependent on work area and individual requirements)
  • preceptee individual learning and development plans
  • wellbeing initiatives
  • reflection
  • pastoral care and support
  • clinical supervision.

Gold standard: may include:

  • action learning
  • peer support forums for preceptor and preceptee
  • coaching
  • mentoring
  • professional nurse advocate/restorative supervision


Core standard and gold standard:


Core standard: 

  • course evaluations
  • retention statistics (12 and 24-months post-registration)
  • feedback questionnaire on preceptorship experience at end point
  • annual review of the programme
  • feedback mechanism for preceptors to support them
  • feedback from preceptor and preceptees

Gold standard: 

  • session feedback
  • feedback questionnaire on preceptorship experience – mid point and end point
  • preceptee involvement in design and development of programme
  • stakeholder feedback.