Preceptorship case studies

We spoke to preceptors and newly qualified physios about how their programme is run and what the challenges and benefits were

NHS England videos

Hear from physios talking about their experience of preceptorship.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Setting: Acute hospital

Preceptor: Lucy Parry

Started: 2022. The physiotherapy management team researched existing preceptorship models and utilised examples from the National Preceptorship Framework, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health Education England.

Length of programme: 12 months

The programme is available to: Newly qualified band 5 physiotherapists in their first year of employment.

What learning is included in the programme? Five or six teaching sessions throughout the 12 months on various topics such as leadership, professional values and CPD.

How do you record learning? Preceptees complete a preceptorship document. They log learning experiences, KSF [knowledge and skills framework], PDP [personal development plan] and goals. This is also used to document monthly meetings with their preceptors and record SWOT [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats] analysis and learning and development needs.

What do the preceptor/preceptee meetings include? Pastoral care as opposed to clinical supervision. Preceptees should receive clinical supervision separately within their clinical area.  

What have been the challenges to implementing the programme? Some preceptees are not as open or engaged with the programme. This has been dealt with by trying to address any issues with the individual and revisiting the potential benefits to the programme.

Has the programme been evaluated? Evaluation is due to take place now the first cohort of preceptees have completed their first 12 months.

Top three lessons from the programme:

  • Allocate time out in advance to ensure the time is protected.
  • Maintain regular contact with preceptees. 
  • Raise any issues with the appropriate management level and regularly feedback with other preceptors.
Ioan Vaugh outside his hospital
Ioan Vaugh outside his hospital

Preceptee – Ioan Vaughan, Band 6 physiotherapist

How has the preceptorship programme benefited you? 

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 one-to-one meetings with my preceptor allowing me to discuss my wellbeing and to reflect on my time as a qualified member of staff. The programme made me feel valued by the team and demonstrated their investment in my personal and professional development.

The group 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? 

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 one-to-ones 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 it covers a large rural area, meaning that we had to revert to virtual platforms on occasions to complete sessions and meetings. 

We cannot ignore the fact that we work in a very pressured and stretched environment currently, and as newly qualified Band 5s 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 [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Challenges] 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 into my career going forward. The programme gives you the chance to lead your own meetings and talk about what’s concerning you while 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 into a preceptor role for the upcoming cohort of band 5s 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 view to develop the programme further and give the best start our band 5s can hope for in their career.

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

  • It’s important to take a step back, reflect and digest. You may answer your own question!
  • Take responsibility for your own learning and development and you will reap the benefits further down the line.
  • Use the knowledge of everyone in the team; senior members, other band 5s, TIs [technical instructors] and assistants – they understand your concerns and they are they to help!


Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust

Setting: Acute hospital

Therapy education lead: Trudi McDowall

Started: The programme was updated and relaunched in summer 2022 as a rolling programme with new additional face-to-face learning days such as Human Factors.  

Length of programme: 12 months

The programme is available to: Nurses, nursing associates and AHPs. The trust preceptorship programme is for all new graduates, internationally educated new staff members and return-to-practice staff.

What learning is included in the programme? Preceptors are allocated face-to-face study days over their first 12 months including QI [quality improvement], aspects of clinical care, mental health and wellbeing, communications, human factors and leadership. It is a flexible programme and the preceptees who have already completed some modules have the option to use their time for other appropriate study interest.

How do preceptees record their learning? Preceptees record their learning via a portfolio and a learning log. This is also monitored by our Preceptorship team.

What do the preceptor/preceptee meetings include? To avoid confusion between supervisors and preceptor roles, our preceptees are allocated separate preceptors. Our intention is that preceptors will offer pastoral support and oversee how preceptees are getting on generally with the preceptorship.

What have been three challenges to implementing the programme? Buy in from clinical teams – i.e. teams who arrange to lead the sessions then cancel last minute. Logistics due to numbers – last year we had over 300 preceptees (mainly internationally educated staff). Preceptor buy in not always being supported by teams.

Has the programme been evaluated? Evaluation forms are filled out at the end of each programme.

Top three lessons from the programme:

  • Try to make the programme fully inclusive so everyone gets the most out of it.
  • The importance of getting preceptors trained and understanding what is expected of the role.
  • Ensure that the programme is correctly monitored so that it is fit for purpose.
Hampshire nurse who completed preceptorship

Preceptee – Meri Sabadera, physiotherapist

How has the preceptorship programme benefited you?

The programme has made me feel valued as a newly qualified member of staff. It shows the willingness to invest in the support for new staff as it can be scary and overwhelming. It was also reassuring to do the programme with other new qualified staff as we could support each other and work together as different members of the MDT [multi-disciplinary team]. 

What have been the challenges to completing the programme?

Some aspects of the programme were familiar as I had completed them at university so it did not add to my personal learning. 
There were more nursing staff on the programme, which at times meant the focus was on nursing-specific skill set/scenarios. 

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

It has helped me to translate the theory into real-life scenarios and helped me to become more confident in difficult situations, or situations that I may not have experienced as a student. 

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

  • Always seek more support or information from other members of the team if needed
  • Reflect regularly 
  • Take every learning opportunity where possible

Logo of Lewisham and Greenwich Trust AHPs

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

Setting: Acute hospital and Community Settings – all AHPs employed within Trust

Practice Development AHP Lead: Victoria Jackson

AHP Workforce and Education Lead: Dan Western

Programme started: November 2022

Length of programme: 10 months (plus additional four weeks for submission of summative essay if preceptees wish to follow the MSc credit route).

The programme is available to: All new AHP graduates, international recruits and return-to-practice staff.

What learning is included in the programme?

Ten x four-hour face-to-face learning sessions. There is additional online formative learning to supplement each session via the digital learning platform 'Moodle' and a Preceptorship handbook with course content and learning outcomes. The sessions are based on the four pillars of practice and include many topics including reflective practice, inter-professional learning, QI and communication skills. The content is based on the early preceptorship work facilitated by CapitalAHP and local stakeholder engagement.

How do preceptees record their learning?

Preceptees record their learning via the resources held on the learning platform moodle, or within their personal CPD learning record. Attendance, engagement with formative work, summative work and course evaluation are monitored by the AHP workforce and education staff. Preceptors are responsible for monitoring personalised objectives, which are linked to the programme content. Feedback to the programme lead is encouraged by all parties, and optional 'drop-in'virtual meetings are organised to support this.

Preceptees are required to attend 85–100% of the sessions and complete a presentation. Preceptees have the option of achieving a 30-credit level 7 module by completing all components of the programme, alongside completion of an additional essay. They must also demonstrate full engagement with the formative component and integrating learning into practice. The module is accredited by University of Greenwich.

What do the preceptor/preceptee meetings include?

The first meeting is held within the two weeks of the preceptee joining the programme. The preceptors and preceptees are recommended to organise four further meetings as a minimum. The meetings include discussions around CPD and reflective practice, identification of personalised non-clinical objectives that are relevant to the programme and support with how to meet these.

The preceptors complete one four-hour training session organised by the trust, and are encouraged to complete the E-LfH online module. They are provided with access to meeting templates and all learning resources available to preceptees.

The preceptors are separate from the preceptees' clinical supervisors and focus on the individual's professional and career development alongside their wellbeing.

What have been the challenges to implementing the programme?

  • Ensuring protected time for delivery
  • Designing a programme that meets the needs of all AHPs, working in different professions and across different clinical areas / sectors, especially for those professions that already have early career frameworks in place as recommended by their professional bodies.
  • Securing resource for delivery
  • Finding a robust and timely way to capture all preceptees coming into the organisation

Top three lessons from the programme?

Currently the programme is still in the early delivery phase, but feedback has included:

  • Ability to promote early inter-professional networking and learning. It has facilitated rich conversations between preceptees and hopefully this will support and enhance awareness of each other's roles and promote multi-disciplinary collaboration.
  • This is an effective way of introducing learning across the four pillars of practice within early career stage, which can support career development moving forwards
  • Provides an additional layer of support and supervision for preceptees, with an additional point of contact / stability for their transition into the workforce

How has the programme been evaluated?

Evaluation forms are filled out at the end of each session and will be reviewed at the end of the first and second cohort.

Preceptee Aaron Philips

Preceptee – Aaron Philips, physiotherapist

How has the preceptorship programme benefited you? 

It is a really good programme. Prioritising a programme like this demonstrates the level of investment my trust has made in us. It really says a lot about how we are valued. Having a structured programme that takes into account that we are new, takes the pressure off.

What have been the challenges to completing the programme?

Initially, for myself and a couple of others, there was a feeling of guilt about being away from the clinical environment, but the reaction and acceptance has been really good! I think that comes down to good communication between the different departments and teams.

How has the programme helped you to transition?

I am returning to practice, so not quite the same as being a student, but in terms of the approach of the preceptorship so far, it’s very similar.

It broadens my horizons for crucial professional development early in my career and introduces me to:

  • Reflection: clinical and non-clinical 
  • Self-development and how it can influence clinical and professional development
  • Complex situations and the opportunity to discuss and understand how to manage them in a safe and supported environment
  • Different departments and teams

Having a preceptor away from my team has been extremely valuable. It allows me to:

  • Discuss topics that you may not feel comfortable having within your team
  • Get an objective point of view – seeing situations from another perspective
  • Access the support open to me such as mentorship or coaching

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

There is a lot of genuine help and supportive people who are keen to give their time to help you think better, be better and do better.

Last reviewed:

Also of interest


CPD and education