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The unique role of the nurse preceptor in community palliative care
  1. MJ Legg1,
  2. L Graham1,
  3. A McAleer1,
  4. L McCann1 and
  5. M Dempster2
  1. 1Marie Curie, UK
  2. 2Queens University, UK


Introduction Practitioners new to palliative care experience multifaceted stressors from exposure to complex and challenging situations.3 Preceptorship is considered an accessible and generalizable intervention to address issues with wellbeing, recruitment and retention of nursing staff.2 There is however a lack of research to enhance our understanding of this role in supporting newly hired staff1 and within palliative care.

Aim(s) This study aims to develop an understanding of the nurse preceptor role in community palliative care, in order to determine the theoretical underpinnings and scope of the role

Method(s) Nurse preceptors involved in a programme for newly hire RNs and HCAs to a community palliative nursing service were identified by the hospice practice educator and invited to take part in focus groups. A semi-structured interview schedule was developed from previous literature.

Results A total of n = 7 nurse preceptors were included in focus groups, all of whom had undertaken the preceptor role for approximately 8 months. A number of themes emerged which will aid the further development of this vital role in palliative care settings.

Conclusion(s) As far as the research team is aware, this this is the first study to explore the role of the nurse preceptor in palliative care, with both nurses and health care assistants. Preceptorship has emerged as a major theme in facilitating role development, with the potential to lessen the impact of a practitioner making the transition into palliative care.


  1. Hyrkäs K, Shoemaker M. Changes in the preceptor role: re-visiting preceptors’ perceptions of benefits, rewards, support and commitment to the role. J Advanced Nurs 2007;60(5):513–524

  2. McCloughen A, O’Brien L. Development of a mentorship programme for new graduate nurses in mental health. Inter J Mental Health Nurs 2005;14(4):276–284

  3. Newton J, Waters V. Community palliative care clinical nurse specialists descriptions of stress in their work’. Inter J Palliative Care Nurs 2001;7(11):531–540

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