Preceptorship for the newly-qualified practitioner (NQP) in Allied Health Professions (AHP): a systematic review of perspectives on AHP preceptorship programmes


In 2010 Department of Health published best practice guidance outlining a Preceptorship Framework for Newly Registered Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals (AHP). Underpinning this was the recognition to support and enable the workforce of the future a different approach to empower newly qualified practitioners and assist transition from student to post-registration practice. This strategy was followed by publications from Health Education England that included Preceptorship Standards (2015) . Flying Start initiative from NHS Education Scotland (2006) made comprehensive plans to support the development of newly qualified nurses, midwives and AHP's across health and social care. So, too, the CapitalNurse programme (2015) has shown positive work developing preceptorships for nurses. However, little is known regarding the implementation and evolution of preceptorship for physiotherapists, and AHP's in England since the DoH (2010). Our aim was to review published literature reporting on preceptorship programs for allied health professionals in the UK.


A process for systematic review outlined as part of undertaking a local structured education programme to develop evidence-based practice. A research question and search strategy was developed including variances on key terms ‘precept*’, ‘newly-qualified practitioner’, ‘allied health professional’’ utilising Boolean operators. A search strategy was conducted using thedatabases: NICE Healthcare databases advanced searches (HDAS), CINAHL, PubMed, MEDLINE, EMCARE, AMED, PSYCHINFO and HMIC. Articles were screened for suitability using the following inclusion criteria: UK based, English language, published 2009-2019, Not Nursing or medical. Thematic analysis of included studies was conducted to identify themes from the literature. Identified themes were reviewed by a second independent reviewer.


Results: 24 publications were retrieved. Following screening 7 studies were included for final analysis. Three primary themes and fourteen sub themes were identified from which to analyse perspectives. Primary themes being: the preceptor, the preceptee, the organisation/employer. Perspectives of the preceptee, studies found (1) motivational factors; (2) mentorship; (3) peer support; and (4) preparedness were important factors that contributed to successful preceptorship. Preceptors reported (5) the preceptor-preceptee relationship; (6) senior level support; (7) knowledge of preceptor skills: (8) understanding the preceptorship programme; and (9) time, capacity and training; were crucial factors to be an effective preceptor. From the viewpoint of the organisation, the literature reported that (10) manager engagement ; (11) culture of mentorship and support;(12) robust systems for implementation of programmes; (13) team organisation for development of preceptors a Program; and (14) understanding the key characteristics of preceptorship were important.

Conclusion(s): This review highlights themes from the perspective of preceptees, preceptor, and the organisation which are important to consider in relation to development and provision of AHP preceptorship programmes. However, the number of studies in the published literature reporting on the design, content, provision and efficacy of physiotherapy, or AHP, preceptorship is low.

Cost and savings

Undertaken was part of a structured local educational programme surrounding evidence-based healthcare subsequently informing the design of a local quality improvement programme therefore did not take any costs to run and set up.


A lack of published literature informing provision of, or evaluating efficacy of preceptorship programmes for AHP’s. The authors suggest benchmarking activity amongst NHS organisations with physiotherapy services be undertaken to explore what elements of preceptorship currently exist in practice across the UK, also audit activity assessing preceptorship provision in relation to HEE standards.

Top three learning points

No further information. 

Funding acknowledgements

No funding was received in the undertaking of this work.