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The preceptorship experience in the intergenerational context: a phenomenological study Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Foley, Vicki
Supervisor and department
Yonge, Olive (Nursing)
Myrick, Florence (Nursing)
Wimmer, Randolf (Education)
Examining committee member and department
Cameron, Brenda (Nursing)
Paul, Pauline (Nursing)
Mary-Anne Andrusyszyn (University of Western Ontario)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Preceptorship tends to be the teaching/learning method of choice for senior level nursing students engaging in clinical practice because it offers a reality-oriented learning context and fosters professional socialization into the culture of nursing. The pairing of a student with an experienced nurse is an approach to teaching/learning that promotes critical thinking, cultivates practical wisdom, and facilitates competence. In today’s nursing clinical practice settings, there can be up to four distinct generations (Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials) present and each generation brings its own values and expectations to the teaching/learning process. Exploring the nature of the preceptorship experience in this context is a significant and relevant topic for nursing education and practice. To date, a paucity of research is evident in this area. The purpose of this paper-based thesis is to explore nursing pedagogy in the intergenerational context and more specifically, to examine the preceptorship model of clinical teaching/learning within this context. I begin broadly in the first manuscript with an examination of nursing pedagogy through a generational lens and proffer that nurse educators should begin to engage in a critical discourse regarding the adequacy of current pedagogical practice in relation to meeting the needs and expectations of today’s students, the Millennial Generation. In the second manuscript, I narrow my focus to the preceptorship model of clinical teaching/learning and explore the state of knowledge as it relates to preceptorship in the intergenerational context. In the third manuscript, I explore the phenomenological research methodology with a particular focus on nursing knowledge development. In the fourth manuscript, I reveal the culmination of my dissertation process and report the findings of a phenomenological research study examining the preceptorship experience in the intergenerational context. For the current study, data were generated using unstructured interviews with a purposive sample of preceptors and students recruited from an undergraduate nursing program in eastern Canada. Overall their experience can be described as inclusive of three main themes: being affirmed, and being challenged, along a pedagogical journey.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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