Reflections on the preceptorship programme

Ioan Vaughan, band six physiotherapist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, discusses how he has benefited from the preceptorship programme.

Ian Vaughan
Ian Vaughan

The preceptorship programme within the West area of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board is aimed towards newly qualified band five members of staff within their first year of employment. The support that it gave me as I found my feet within the workplace was invaluable. It provided a platform in which I could talk openly with a senior member of staff in a holistic way that was not strictly clinically focused. I was able to lead the discussion within the monthly 1-1 meetings with my preceptor allowing me to discuss my personal wellbeing and to reflect on my time as a qualified member of staff. During my first year of work my confidence grew naturally with clinical experience and the programme made me feel valued by the team and demonstrated their investment in my personal and professional development.

Alongside the monthly 1-1 meetings with your allocated preceptor, the programme delivers five group sessions where all the band fives on the programme come together to discuss specific topics that are relevant to our practice for example communication and team-working. The sessions are facilitated by senior members of staff and allow us to share ideas and experiences and gain the peer support that is vital to our self-confidence and self-efficacy as budding physiotherapists. 

What have been the challenges to completing the programme?

It is important to acknowledge that the programme is still early in its implementation and is being developed continually. Naturally, there were challenges faced by us as preceptees and preceptors that varied with personal perceptions and experiences throughout the year. Personally I found face to face meetings vastly more beneficial when completing both 1-1 and group sessions as it allowed a more natural, open and honest conversation. The challenge faced in this respect was the geography of our trust as we are a large rural area, meaning that we had to revert to virtual platforms on occasions to complete sessions and meetings. Moving forward, face to face meetings are encouraged where possible and arrangements can be made in regards to preceptor allocation to promote this aspect of the programme.

We cannot ignore the fact that we work in a very pressured and stretched environment currently and as newly qualified band fives it is easy to feel guilt at completing non-clinical activities. Initially I found it difficult to manage my own expectations when preparing for the meetings and attending the sessions. Knowing and reminding myself that the programme is there to allow us to reflect and develop in order to improve our practice allowed me to improve my understanding of the bigger picture and highlighted the importance of such a programme.

How has the programme helped you to transition from student to clinician?

Reflection, reflection, reflection! Formally by completing SWOC analyses in the allocated workbook or informally when discussing experiences with my preceptor within meetings, the programme gave me space to think and digest what I was seeing day to day. It’s not easy coming from the student environment to the workplace with increased responsibility and accountability – it can be very daunting! Having the opportunity to talk and raise questions in a safe space developed a healthy attitude that I will carry in to my career going forward. The programme gives you the chance to lead your own meetings and talk about what’s concerning you whilst following a framework that discusses key topics to be working towards as a clinician. 

For myself, I have completed the programme as a preceptee and have now moved in to a preceptor role for the upcoming cohort of band fives that will begin their journey with us. I have gained invaluable experience by completing the programme and I’m excited to use my own experience from both points of views to develop the programme further and give the best start our band fives can hope for in their career.

What top 3 lessons have you taken away from the programme?

1.    It’s important to take a step back, reflect and digest. You may answer your own question!
2.    Take responsibility for your own learning and development and you will reap the benefits further down the line.
3.    Use the knowledge of everyone in the team; senior members, other band fives, TIs and assistants – they understand your concerns and they are there to help.

Number of subscribers: 1

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added