Buddy Nurses and/or Preceptors

         It is important for both the preceptor and the student to be aware of the roles of responsibilities of one another. The preceptor should take initiative to understand the scope of practice of their student. The scope of what a student can practice during their rotation will differ depending on which year of the program they are completing. By doing this the preceptor takes an active role in providing a safe, comfortable learning environment for the student and a safe environment for their patients. Preceptors have a duty to ensure that students and graduates are competent to provide safe care (Luhanga, Myrick & Yonge, 2010).

         Preceptors have an ethical, legal and moral responsibility during the preceptorship program. Preceptors are required to provide a comfortable learning environment for the students while maintaining a safe, caring and competent environment for their patients (Biggs & Schriner, 2010; Hewitt, 2010). Preceptors have to be diligent in remembering the competencies of the student and ensure that a student does not complete tasks outside their scope.

         A student should be aware of their own scope of practice and this requires understanding what activities can and cannot be completed by a student in their year of study. An example of understanding scope of practice is a student having an understanding that they are capable of doing dressing changes but not administration of blood products (Hewitt, 2010).

         As students participate in the preceptorship program they face many ethical and accountability challenges. The role of the student in the clinical environment is to provide safe, ethical competent care within their scope of practice. According to Luhanga, Myrick & Yonge (2010) students are expected to practice within the limits of the nursing practice standards and to adhere to the standards and policies of the health care institution and to remain within the clinical level as described by their school and the institution. Students are expected to maintain a professional, safe environment for the clients they serve. Luhanga, Myrick & Yonge (2010) cite the CAN with regards to students standards, which are to practice within their own competency, acknowledge mistakes and maintain high quality health care.

Questions for thought:

As a student have you or had you ever been asked to complete a task outside your scope of practice? If so, how did you respond to the request? If not, think about how you would have handled the situation?

As an educator or preceptor did you ever witness a student doing something outside their scope of practice? What was the outcome? How did you handle the situation?