Help Precepting an Older Nurse

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Hello MNC,

Help precepting an older nurse! I recently came across your website and wanted to share my story. I am currently precepting an older nurse who is a recent graduate and it is no fun.

I started out on being her preceptor with an open mind and willing to show her the ropes. I am younger but have been a nurse for several years, at least much longer than my new orientee has been, which is zero!

I am mindful of the age gap and always respectful and professional in my communication with her as well as my co-workers.

This is a career change for her and I constantly get the feeling of being talked down to. An example of this is, the other day, I went to show her how to perform a new procedure and she completely shut me down saying, “I don’t need to know this right now, you can show me later.”

I was quite shocked and upset! This is a new orientee who should simply be learning the ropes and can do what she wants later. My co-workers think she is a PITA and I am beginning to think so too.

My supervisor asked me how things are going and I tell her, “very well”. I am wondering if I shouldn’t mention it to her because if this new orientee has a problem dealing with me because I am younger, she will definitely have problems on our unit as everyone is almost as young as I am.

Any suggestions?

Frustrated Preceptor

Dear Frustrated Preceptor,

I don’t know the age difference between yourself and orientee, not that it matters. We are all deserving of respect irrespective of age.

Your new orientee may be feeling insecure and mask it with her responses but insecurity does not excuse her.

As her preceptor, you should be able to pull her aside privately and let her know what are perceiving. You may end up being surprised and also clear the air. But if you also don’t feel comfortable speaking with her alone, get someone else involved.

If this fails, involve your supervisor. You certainly don’t want her to be blind-sided and taking care of this before it becomes a full blown problem helps everyone.

Preceptor-ship is not always easy! Keep being an awesome preceptor!



My Nurse Consultant

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