Empowering. Inspiring. Life-changing.
Those are some of the words our students used to describe you, the preceptors who help them build their skills, guide their care, give them confidence, and model professionalism. We hear these sorts of words all the time.
They tell us about the incredible clinical preceptor who gave them a new way to assess a baby from a mom’s lap. To ask open-ended questions of an adolescent or read between the lines of what an elderly patient says—or doesn’t say. To consider the patient within the context of their community, their loved ones, support systems, and economic situation. To think critically as they consider the whole patient—not just the disease process or condition they harbor—to capably and compassionately address all the factors that contribute to their health and wellness.
We hear all the time about preceptors who make our students say, “That’s just the kind of nurse I want to be.”
Nurse preceptors like you provide intellectual, ethical, professional, and spiritual learning opportunities for our students. You teach them how to listen, how to talk, to assess, observe, and to gently and supportively teach and care for patients and families. You show them how to have difficult conversations, how to provide support through silence, how to have, as we like to say, a “soft front and a strong back.” You also take the scariness out of new experiences.
Preceptors also teach students how to be joyful and authentic in their care, and when it’s OK express a sense of humor. They are the lifeblood of a nurses’ education, and of our School. They—you—are wise, passionate, funny, soulful, hard-working, curious, and always, always inspiring.
This National Nurses Week, we wish we could share with you a hot breakfast, a warm cup of coffee just the way you like it, offer you a massage, a gift card, as well as words of thanks and a hug. But while physical distancing prevents that for now, we offer instead our unending and enthusiastic thanks to you with this video and the assertion that the work you do matters deeply. It’s critically important, even as COVID-19 and the painful changes it has wrought continues.
You’ve changed our students’ lives. You’ve nurtured nurses. For this we are very grateful. And we join you in celebrating National Nurses Week.
With our deepest thanks and sincere appreciation to you,
Pamela F. Cipriano
Associate Professor & Director of Clinical Partnerships
UVA School of Nursing