Precepting the Future Nursing Workforce: A Community Collaboration

The ongoing and growing problem of the nursing shortage in the United States is of grave concern. In September 2022, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Nursing (CON) was awarded a Preceptor Workforce Grant by the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) to address the needs of nurse preceptors, clinical instructors, and clinical site placement staff preparation in Region 7 (Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas). Spanning over the grant award of four years, UNMC CON will be working to support training clinical faculty and preceptors who are responsible for developing the emerging nursing workforce as they enter practice, transition to a new nursing specialty, or commence work as an advanced practice registered nurse. Education and support of clinical faculty development is of primary focus, with emphasis on resiliency, special populations, quality improvement, and community collaboration. The grant includes plans to address barriers and create facilitators who encourage nurses to become involved in clinical instruction through education and advocacy work. To capture the collaborative nature of the work across the region, the UNMC CON has established the Midwest Clinical Instruction Regional Network, or “MCIRN,” which will serve as the central entity under which resources produced by numerous partnerships with experts across the region and nation will be offered.

Knowledge of the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) and its contributions to the nursing profession have been key to the effort. ANPD has three affiliates within Region 7, with the Nebraska ANPD affiliate currently led by Nebraska Medicine and UNMC nurses. This relationship provides the region with ANPD information and resources. When searching for the best practice for preceptors, the grant team identified the Preceptor Competency Consensus Study. This work was examined to determine best practice for integration into the construction of the training and overall design of the grant work.

The evolution of a standardized curriculum for Region 7 nurses aligns with the competencies identified by the Consensus Study, and utilizes the framework provided by the Ulrich Precepting Model. The curriculum aims to thoroughly address the multifaceted responsibilities of the preceptor as a role model, teacher/coach, facilitator, protector, socialization agent, leader/influencer, and evaluator. Understanding the individual experiences and competencies possessed by each preceptor and how this translates into better learning experiences for the preceptees is essential. Furthermore, appreciating the foundational principles of professional identity is crucial for the cultural shift needed to ensure proper education, progression, and growth of the nursing workforce. The competencies provide an evidence-based structure for the organization and development of learning materials. They are also sensitive to the need to address the growing diversity of the general U.S. population and to reflect this within the current nursing workforce, as well as the healthcare environment — which has encountered notable change in recent years during and post-pandemic.

The grant work strives to include a vast representation of nurses from multiple healthcare settings — from acute care hospitals to long-term care facilities and clinic settings. To help inform the development of preceptor and clinical instruction resources, nurses from across the state were asked to provide information about organizational and individual influences related to these roles. Their vital input is being analyzed and included in the targeted development of the MCIRN-standardized curriculum, content, and resources. The comprehensive curriculum and ensuing learning materials will utilize an active learning approach where didactic content will be transformed into application-level activities. Case studies, scenarios, and reflection will be used to provide opportunities to apply content to realistic situations that may be encountered in practice — skills needed to ensure that nurse educators can facilitate learning given the growing diversity of the nursing workforce and patient populations. These skills will be developed through the incorporation of scenarios and case studies representative of the nursing and patient populations in health care. Continuous evaluation of the content for relevance to the preceptors and preceptee learners will be conducted to ensure the program is designed to meet learning needs within a constantly evolving nursing and healthcare landscape.

Ensuring content is timely, applicable, and in a tangible format that can be readily accessed and used by the preceptors using agile information technology (IT) infrastructure is a priority of current and future program development. A vault of materials will be created throughout the grant process to promote sustainability and availability of the content when the grant programming concludes. This content can be accessed as ongoing resources to the clinical areas to support the nursing workforce throughout the region.

To learn more about this effort, please contact the UNMC grant team.


This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $3,995,519 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

Source – Precepting the Future Nursing Workforce: A Community Collaboration by Heidi Keeler, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN and Lauren Loyd, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CNE on September 08, 2023