A mid adult female nurse works with a young adult female nursing student.

Pre-pandemic onboarding methods made training new nurses a pain point in health systems. Much of this was due to the workload put on nurse preceptors, who were tasked with onboarding new grads while carrying a full patient load. This led to burnout for the nurse preceptor and a poor onboarding experience for new grads. 

SimpliFi’s Confidence Accelerating Practice (CAP) program aims to change this trend. The program places a dedicated preceptor on the unit who is focused solely on training new nurses at a speed where the new grads can pay attention to every detail, helping them build their confidence, competence, and skill development during onboarding. 

Responsibilities and Qualifications of a Nurse Preceptor 

One of the first steps of SimpliFi’s CAP program is finding the right nurse preceptor for the unit. While there are several experienced nurses in the healthcare industry, tenure doesn’t necessarily make a nurse a good preceptor. Not only do nurse preceptors need to be extremely competent in their jobs, but they also need to have patience, experience as a mentor, and be detail-oriented. 

“A lot of nurses who are picked to be preceptors are not always selected based on being the best fit for the role. They’re available and really good nurses, but they’re not necessarily great teachers,” explained SimpliFi’s Senior Clinical Director Dawne Southworth, MSN, RN, CEN, TCRN. “When SimpliFi places preceptors, we ensure they are a good fit for that role and can be successful in mentoring graduate nurses.” 

In Southworth’s experience, a good preceptor is a nurse who is knowledgeable, has great communication and conflict resolution skills, pays attention to detail, manages time efficiently, and is comfortable using a variety of teaching techniques. 

Through the CAP program, SimpliFi interviews, vets, and trains preceptor candidates. We even have them take a personality test to make sure they are suitable for the unit. But, our involvement doesn’t stop there. 

The preceptor evaluates the new grads’ competency levels, ensuring they are prepared to practice independently. If there are any issues during training, SimpliFi’s Clinical Directors are always available to assist. 

“Part of the preceptor meetings that we have, we talk about where the graduate nurses are in the progression of their skill sets,” Southworth explained. “If there are any areas of concern, we try to identify those and do an early intervention.” 

SimpliFi also communicates with a health system’s leadership team, making executives aware of the program’s progress and identifying and securing any resources the new nurses need to succeed. 

How SimpliFi’s CAP Program Enhances the Nurse Onboarding Experience 

SimpliFi CAP program logo

It can be overwhelming for new nurses who are passionate about healthcare but entering the workforce during a pandemic. SimpliFi’s focused approach intends to put their worries at ease.  

In the CAP program, the new grads’ patient load is the preceptor’s patient load. They work side-by-side as the preceptor teaches everything needed to provide high-quality, safe patient care. 

“We use an integrated approach into practice that increases the graduates’ confidence and in turn, increases their competence,” Southworth said. “We are also able to decrease preceptor burnout while simultaneously enhancing the graduates’ onboarding experience because we are able to give them the ongoing support that they need.” 

The CAP program gives new nurses a strong foundation on which to build their skills. It also relaxes the workload for preceptors, allowing them to teach efficiently and effectively. 

“New nurses in the CAP program were better prepared and more confident upon completion compared to how they would have been in past onboarding models,” said one preceptor. “I was able to spend more time actually teaching and mentoring them than trying to just manage an assignment.” 

SimpliFi’s CAP program aims to increase your team’s bandwidth and provide a structured and supportive approach to onboarding new nurses. If you’d like to hear more about how SimpliFi’s CAP program can be implemented in your health system, contact us.