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Advanced practice nursing, fellowships, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, preceptorship



  1. Klein, Colleen J. PhD, APRN, FNP-BC (Education and Research Scientist)


Background: Preceptors are essential in advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) and physician assistant (PA) fellowships; however, no tools exist for fellows to evaluate their preceptor.


Purpose: The study's purpose was to examine the use of a modified preceptor evaluation tool (PET) in a new population APRNs and PAs who participated in a formalized postgraduate fellowship program.


Methodological orientation: A qualitative study involving cognitive interviewing methods was used to evaluate original and modified items of the PET as a means to determine face validity. Over a period of 19 months, five different focus groups were conducted. Study participants completed an independent analysis of the tool prior to engaging in a focus group discussion. Further testing of new items was performed using the last two focus group cohorts and achieved data saturation.


Sample: The sample included 23 fellows who had completed an acute, ambulatory, or primary care yearlong fellowship. More than half of the fellows ranged in age from <30 to 40 years.


Conclusions: All original 19 items were retained, with the majority (79%) requiring slight modifications. Using feedback from fellows, 10 items were added to the final version, including two open-ended questions. The new items added a focus on preceptors' ability to foster domains of professional growth in the fellows' provider role.


Implications for practice: This newly developed tool with face validity provides a new mechanism for preceptor evaluation by APRN and PA fellows. Additional research is needed with larger groups of fellows as a means to establish the tool's psychometric properties.