NICE Element Color

Preceptor Certification

What is a NICE CNA Preceptor?

Each Employer Partner (EP) is required to select from the existing CNA staff a minimum of 3 candidates to serve as NICE certified preceptors.  EP must ensure a preceptor is on duty when a new NICE student or graduate begins work and or clinicals.  If an EP dedicates one CNA to become a Preceptor, then that Preceptor should be dedicated to training all new CNAs and be able to train on any shift and any assignment. 

Preceptors will be required to provide electronic documentation on each NICE graduate trained.  EP must provide an accessible computer for Preceptor documentation.

Employer Partner agrees to use only certified preceptors for the onboarding and training process of NICE graduate CNAs. 

It is suggested the employer partner consider offering preceptors a financial incentive for retention of new graduates. 

Please use the program overview and selection criteria prior to making your selection. 

Preceptor Overview & Selection Criteria

The Certified Preceptor Certification Program:

  • Transforms performance in training from average to excellent.
  • Reduces turnover almost immediately.
  • Should not be taken lightly by the facility administration.
  • Provides principles and theories that should be incorporated into the center’s existing orientation practices.
  • Staff Development Coordinator or someone in a like role should follow students throughout the course to ensure continued support is provided on the job.
  • Is not about teaching CNAs to operate a patient lift but rather how to sell the profession, best communicate with newly hired staff, identify what causes people to quit and create an atmosphere that keeps newly hired staff connected to the center.

Position:  Certified Preceptor

Responsibility:  Provide orientation and training of newly hired nursing assistants in accordance with NICE’s principles and theories of mentoring and leadership in conjunction with facility established policies and procedures.

Course Requirements: 

  • Students must be employed by the facility for a period of not less than 6 months (preferably 1 year as this is an investment and should ensure the best outcome).
  • Certified or credentialed by the state as a nursing assistant or equivalent. (If placing staff from other departments in the course they need only meet the employment criteria).

Selecting the Best Candidate for Preceptor Certification

  1. Select candidates for the training based on:
    1. Overall attitude (evaluate carefully, do not hesitate to select a person who has excellent skills/years of experience but whose attitude needs adjustment)
    2. Commitment to the work
    3. Patience in dealing with co-workers
    4. Assertiveness (willing to speak up)
    5. Above average attendance
    6. No formal reprimands in the previous 12 months
  2. A center is given latitude in designing individual criteria based on their needs and current staffing environment.  However, it is best to select candidates who have proven a commitment to the center as demonstrated by years of service.
  3. Some CNAs/staff are reluctant to sign up to do orientation as it is typically not a position most aspire to. Many feels orientating newly hired nursing assistants slows them down in their usual and comfortable routine.
  4. Centers either need to build excitement around the opportunity with challenging posters, or hand pick candidates utilizing the opportunity to explain why they were selected (selection can be a fantastic recognition opportunity if handled properly):
  • They have been identified as a leader.
  • They demonstrate excellence in their skills as a CNA and are the example for others to follow.

Suggested Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do make this investment a priority, as it has an enormous payoff if handled correctly.
  • Do plan to recognize the graduate’s accomplishment. The course is difficult, and the exam is challenging. 
  • Do make selection of students carefully.
  • Don’t assume because a nursing assistant has a bad attitude, they will not make a good preceptor. Often the more experienced nursing assistants who need an attitude adjustment turn out to be the best Preceptors.  Evaluate carefully.
  • Don’t select a person who has no chance of accepting change.
  • Don’t select a person who cannot or will not be supported.
  • Do use caution when selecting a person who is quiet and shy. It is often difficult for this type personality to initiate relationships.
  • Do follow the nursing assistants taking the Certified Preceptor Course, offering encouragement and support.
  • Do communicate with NICE’s Preceptor Coach regarding the status of those taking the Preceptor Course.
  • Do be willing to meet with Preceptors routinely and be open to their suggestions on orientation practices and possible improvements which could be made.