As a nursing student during your clinical rotation, your nursing preceptor is your compass, guiding you towards professional excellence.

But how do you make a good impression and stand out from all the other students?

How to Impress Your Nursing Preceptor

Below I go through how you can impress your nursing school clinical preceptor.

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1. Make a Good First Impression

Creating a good first impression is pivotal. It’s not just about showing up on time, although punctuality is certainly important.

It’s also about your appearance and demeanor.

Dress professionally, and adhere to the dress code of your nursing program. Keep your attire neat, clean, and suitable for the healthcare environment.

On your first day, and every day after that, bring a positive attitude and an enthusiasm, that shows you’re ready and eager to learn.

2. Have a Positive Attitude

Nursing can be intense and, at times, overwhelming.

Nevertheless, a positive attitude will carry you far. Show your preceptor that you’re capable of handling pressure and can do so with a smile.

Be flexible and adaptable, ready to accommodate changing circumstances.

Display resilience in the face of adversity.

Your optimism and perseverance will not only help you excel in your rotation and inspire your colleagues and patients.

3. Show You’re Engaged

Being engaged doesn’t just mean being present physically. It requires mental and emotional presence as well.

Show that you’re truly invested in your role by participating actively in discussions, patient care, and learning opportunities.

Be observant and attentive to details, as these are critical in the nursing profession. Maintain eye contact during conversations and give feedback when appropriate.

4. Ask Questions

Questions are the catalysts of learning.

Don’t hold back from asking, thinking that your questions may sound silly.

As long as they’re relevant to your practicum and contribute to your learning, they’re worth asking.

Intelligent and thoughtful questions indicate your enthusiasm to learn, your analytical thinking skills, and your commitment to providing the best patient care.

Remember, it’s better to ask now than to make mistakes later.

5. Demonstrating a Willingness to Learn

The field of nursing is a dynamic one, continually evolving and advancing. Hence, learning is an ongoing process, not a destination.

Show your preceptor that you’re open to absorbing new information, improving existing skills, and even unlearning outdated practices.

Apply the concepts you’ve learned in your nursing school in the real world.

Always be curious and eager to explore new learning opportunities, even if they’re outside your comfort zone.

6. Take Initiative

Proactivity is a desirable trait in a nurse. When you anticipate needs, take responsibility, and handle tasks independently, you prove your worth as a responsible nursing professional.

However, make sure your actions are within the scope of your role and the policies of your clinical site.

By taking the initiative, you’re demonstrating your ability to think ahead, be resourceful, and potentially lead – qualities that can greatly impress your preceptor.

7. Show a Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Excellence in nursing is not about being perfect; it’s about being committed to continuous improvement.

Show your preceptor your willingness to recognize and admit your weaknesses, seek feedback, and take steps to improve.

8. Stay Off Your Phone

Professionalism in the clinical site extends to your use of technology.

Unnecessary use of your phone during clinical hours can be distracting and may be perceived as a lack of interest in your role.

Instead, dedicate this time to focus on learning, interacting with your patients, and learning from your preceptor.

If you must use your phone, do so during breaks and in designated areas only.

9. Don’t Work on School Assignments

While it might be tempting to multitask and squeeze in some schoolwork during your downtime, resist the urge.

Your clinical practicum is a precious opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learn from real-world scenarios.

It’s not the place for school assignments or studying for the next nursing school exam. Concentrate on maximizing your learning from the clinical environment.


I know you’ll have clinical care plan assignments requiring you to look through patient charts.

If that’s the case, communicate that with your clinical preceptor.

Be mindful not to spend too much time looking through charts, or you could miss opportunities to do clinical skills like foley catheter insertion or IV insertions.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that most preceptors will not come looking for you to do skills (unless it’s something they really don’t want to do).

Many will find it easier to do it than to bother having a student do it and slow them down.

It’s different if you’re right there by them for the opportunity.

Most won’t say no, then.

10. Be Open to Feedback

Being open to feedback is one of the most vital aspects of personal and professional growth.

Constructive criticism is NOT an attack on you as a person, a nursing student, or a future nurse.

Instead, look at it as a tool for improvement.

Accept feedback graciously, whether it’s positive or negative. Reflect on it, and incorporate the lessons learned into your practice.

Show your preceptor that you value their guidance and expertise and are committed to bettering yourself as a nursing professional.

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The course will help strengthen your nursing school knowledge and boost your grades.

Don’t wait – take charge of your academic growth now! Start your journey to success today with the Nursing Student Academy.

Nursing Student Academy
Check out the comprehensive supplemental course nursing students take to improve their grades and pass nursing school.

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

Arrive on time, dress professionally, and maintain a positive attitude to create a positive first impression.

Demonstrate engagement by actively participating, paying attention to details, and showing genuine interest in your tasks.

Absolutely. Asking relevant and insightful questions is encouraged as it shows your desire to learn and grow.

Before taking on a task independently, ensure it falls within your scope of practice and that you are competent to carry it out.

View feedback as a learning opportunity. Use it to improve your skills, and always express appreciation for the feedback.

Your clinical practicum is a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience. Focusing on clinical learning instead of school assignments allows you to maximize this experience.

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