Clinical Preceptor Guide

The APRN Clinical Preceptor Resources Guide provides general information for those engaged in APRN education.  The compilation of the information presented here has been gathered from respective professional associations that have resources available for their members within the population and foci practice area. 

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), physicians, and physician assistants, and other health professionals are all partners in the clinical education of APRN students.  As a practice discipline, experienced APRNs are an active and critical component of APRN clinical education in that they are able to afford APRN students with enculturation to their future role as APRNs.

Roles and responsibilities of:

Program Faculty – hold the primary responsibility of meeting the intended program outcomes pursuant to the institution's accreditation standards.  Further, faculty are responsible for the evaluation of student outcomes that include the faculty, student, and preceptor, as well as the experience and setting of the clinical rotation.  In addition, program faculty must ensure that the APRN student acquires the content and competencies, which include those delineated in the AACN DNP Essentials and the nationally recognized APRN role and population-focused competencies required by certifying bodies where graduates of the program are eligible to seek national certification.  Program faculty will need to clearly communicate to the APRN Clinical Preceptor the level, the intended clinical progression, and outcome objectives for the clinical rotation of the APRN student during each clinical rotation experience thus affording the student meaningful clinical experiences that will develop the students’ comfort in practice and clinical competency. Furthermore, the responsibility of the faculty includes the oversight of the design, implementation, and evaluation of clinical practice experiences that are aligned to student and program outcomes.  Regular communication with the APRN Clinical Preceptor is pivotal to ensure the curriculum is being effectively delivered and student outcomes are met.

Clinical Preceptor – is a vital component of the clinical education process in creating a safe setting for the APRN student to gain experience and develop clinical competency to effectively manage the population consistent with the role for which they are being educated, e.g. appropriate across the life span management of patients for the family nurse practitioner student.  While not an all-inclusive example the APRN clinical preceptor serves as a role model by incorporating evidence-based education best practices to ensure safe and effective patient outcomes.

APRN Student – holds the primary responsibility of communicating with the program faculty and clinical preceptor in preparation for and throughout the clinical experience rotation.  The student is responsible for meeting all institutional and clinical practice site health and regulatory requirements to include confidentiality, HIPPA, security clearance as required by each clinical site.  Students share their learning needs and objectives of the clinical experience that is approved by the program faculty. 


American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) website contains helpful information for program faculty, clinical preceptors, and APRN students in nurse-midwifery programs. Including useful tools for qualities of effective preceptors, clinical placement responsibilities, developing resource skills, and preceptor resources.

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) and the Indiana University, School of Nursing offer an online CNS preceptor course. Elements discussed and reviewed include best practices in communication, teaching, and learning, and evaluating students. The cost of the course is $99 for NACNS members, $129 for non-members. 

National Association of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) website contains helpful information for use by clinical preceptor nurse practitioner faculties working with acute and primary care nurse practitioner students.  Sample resources include working with the overly confident and overly sensitive nurse practitioner students. Free videos are available for use by APRN clinical preceptor that highlights tips on reasonable expectations for the student role.