Study of educational experiences, support, and job satisfaction among critical care nurse preceptors.
Experienced critical care staff nurses are frequently called to serve as clinical preceptors for nurses and nursing students who are unfamiliar with the critical care unit. These critical care nurse preceptors require educational preparation, continuing education, and support for their role. This descriptive correlational study surveyed 73 critical care nurse preceptors at 10 teaching hospitals in a metropolitan area in the Midwest. Forty-eight (65.8%) participants reported receiving some type of educational experience to prepare them for the role of preceptor. Only 24.7% of the respondents, however, participated in continuing education experiences related to the preceptor role. Job satisfaction was measured with a 48-item Likert scale developed for nurses by Slavitt et al. No significant differences in job satisfaction were reported for preceptors who received educational preparation and those who did not. However, the type of unit in which the preceptor worked did affect job satisfaction. Critical care preceptors in units classified as intermediate care and emergency departments had greater levels of job satisfaction than nurses working in intensive care units (t = 2.52, p = 0.01). In addition, the longer the preceptor worked in critical care, the lower the level of job satisfaction (r = -0.210, p = 0.04). Job satisfaction was also influenced by the support preceptors received from their institution; a significant positive correlation was seen between this support and the level of job satisfaction. A description of the format and content of preparation programs for critical care preceptors was also provided as a result of this study.
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