Nurse preceptors are integral to retaining new nurses. Given the challenges associated with attracting and retaining rural nurses (Trossman, 2001), the importance of preceptors in the retention of new nurses and the dearth of studies explicitly examining the attributes and qualifications of successful rural nurse preceptors, the purpose of this study was to unearth attributes and qualifications of successful rural nurse preceptors. In this basic qualitative study, 19 participants completed 1-2 hour in-depth interviews. Data was analyzed using the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Major themes included a sense of honor, professionalism, self-efficacy, and the ability to learn. In addition to confirming previous research, the findings demonstrated the importance of emotion in the teaching/learning process and the influence of observational learning on preceptors’ present-day instruction. Practical implications included acknowledging emotion in the teaching/learning process, the need for new and experienced preceptors to share information and the importance of creating opportunities for critical reflection in preceptor education programs.


Nurse Preceptors, Rural, Basic Qualitative Study, Attributes, Qualifications.

Author Bio(s)

Maureen Rebholz, BSN, Ed.D. Is the Director of Education, Nutritional Consultation and Diabetes Education at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru Illinois. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Maureen Rebholz at, 925 West Street, Peru, IL 61354; E-mail: Renee.Rebholz@ivch.org; Phone: 815-780-3485.

Lisa M. Baumgartner, Ed.D. Is an associate professor of adult education at Texas A&M University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Lisa M. Baumgartner at, 527 Harrington Tower, 4226 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4226; E-mail: lbaumgartner@tamu.edu; Phone: 979-862-2136.

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