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3rd Edition 



Mastering Precepting (3rd Edition)

Preceptors are the essential link between what health care providers are taught and what they do and between what they know and what they need to know. Preceptors have the power and opportunity to inspire nurses and other health care providers to achieve greatness.

Effective precepting programs depend on two critical groups: those who organize and manage the programs and those who support, teach, and coach preceptors. Beth Ulrich and her team of expert contributing authors provide the knowledge, tools, skills, and wisdom both groups need for success. Written for staff nurses and other care providers, managers, and educators, this 3rd edition of Mastering Precepting teaches preceptors both the science and art of precepting and empowers them to seek the support they need to be effective. For managers, it emphasizes the importance of providing preceptors with positive and supportive experiences. For educators, it provides the information and knowledge required to develop and improve preceptor programs. This fully revised 3rd edition covers:

  • NEW: Developing a professional identity

  • NEW: The role and responsibilities of nursing professional development (NPD)

  • practitioners in developing, supporting, recognizing, and retaining preceptors

  • NEW: Preceptor competencies based on the ANPD national study

  • Self-care for preceptors

  • Information on developing, implementing, and evaluating preceptor programs

  • Precepting advanced practice registered nurse students and new graduates

Mastering Precepting (3rd Edition) - Foreword by Kathleen Sanford

This is the third edition of this wonderful book, and I think it is even better than the preceding versions. That is an especially impressive accomplishment because the first and second editions were both recipients of American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards. The updated information in this version comprises an equally well written and comprehensive compendium about the art and science of precepting, with the addition of two new important and timely chapters.


Beth Ulrich and her contributing colleagues discuss the various roles of a nurse preceptor in depth while also addressing the needs of preceptees, managers, and their organizations. They focus on crucial topics such as resilience, compassion fatigue, mindfulness, Just Culture, critical thinking, and the use of instructional technologies. Their practical guidance covers all these topics to help nurses bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and the reality of practice. The newest chapters address the importance of professional identity and the role of nursing professional development practitioners in educating, developing, and supporting preceptors.


I know that this book will be of value to readers, regardless of their current and future professional career choices. The year I started my nursing career, Marlene Kramer’s book Reality Shock: Why Nurses Leave Nursing was published. Among other things, she spelled out the merits of preceptorship to mitigate the reality shock that new nurses experience. Almost 50 years later, preceptors are needed more than ever. Our profession is experiencing an unprecedented turnover rate among graduate nurses. Some of my nurse executive colleagues report that a number of these graduates indicate they will leave the profession. While we know that there are a variety of strategies we need to implement to reverse this exodus, a major tactic is to provide a better experience for our newest colleagues. That includes pairing them with experienced nurses who have been well prepared as educated preceptors.


It is widely accepted that new nurses need help to successfully navigate the change from academia to their working lives. However, they are not the only ones who will benefit from precepting. While it is essential that new graduates are paired with preceptors who welcome them into our profession, nurses who choose to pursue positions in new and different specialties could have equally enriched experiences when they have preceptors to guide them.


That’s why I am so grateful for this book. Nurses are increasingly telling leaders that they want opportunities to grow as professionals and as individuals. Very few of those who are early in their careers indicate that they will want to stay in the same job for more than a few years. I am not worried about that trend. We have always been a profession that encourages lifelong learning, and it makes intuitive sense that our colleagues may want to experience more variety in their careers. I believe that we should encourage our colleagues to pursue new adventures in nursing. We should help them do that by ensuring that they are supported by preceptors who are proficient in a variety of teaching, coaching, role-modeling, and leadership skills. This complete guide helps ensure that they will be.


Kathy Sanford, DBA, RN, FACHE, FAAN

Executive Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer

CommonSpirit Health

Reviews for the Third Edition of Mastering Precepting

In this third edition of Mastering Precepting, Ulrich and the contributing authors provide an up-to-date, comprehensive, well-organized, and easy-to-use resource for any nurse who wants to make a positive impact by serving as a preceptor. The practical tips and strategies in the book cover a wide range of topics, from communication and mentoring to evaluation and feedback, and guide how to navigate common challenges and issues that arise in the preceptor-preceptee relationship. In addition, there is new content for nursing professional development practitioners and on professional identity. Overall, this book is an essential, practical tool for any nurse who wants to be a successful preceptor.”

David Marshall, JD, DNP, RN, CENP, NEA-BC, FAONL, FAAN

Senior Vice President & Chief Nursing Executive

James R. Klinenberg, MD, and Lynn Klinenberg Linkin Chair in Nursing in honor of Linda Burnes Bolton

Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles


“Mastering Precepting, Third Edition, is masterful in providing both theoretical and practical guidance for beginning and experienced preceptors. I especially learned from excellent short case studies throughout the book that illustrate challenging situations in precepting along with a strengths-based approach to precepting. This book highlights and supports the vital role of preceptors in improving the quality and safety of healthcare. It is a must-read resource for every preceptor, who will find sage coaching and insights in each chapter. Dr. Beth Ulrich and her collaborators provide cutting-edge thinking about experiential clinical learning that all nurse educators in all settings will find enlightening, useful, and inspiring.”

Patricia Benner, PhD, RN, FAAN

Executive Director,

Faculty Development Office, NovEx, Novice to Expert Learning System

Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

University of California, San Francisco


“Preceptors are the heart of the matter, as they play a critical role in successfully transitioning newly hired individuals, newly licensed professionals, and individuals transitioning from one position or specialty to another. More than ever, nursing and its partners and collaborators from various disciplines must recognize the value of preceptors in fostering a culture of safety and in achieving a sustainable nursing workforce. The third edition of Mastering Precepting has it all and is a must-read for anyone aspiring to become a preceptor and for those committed to elevating nursing practice and fostering a culture of professional excellence for better organizational outcomes.”

Warly Remegio, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, FNYAM

Vice President, Nursing Professional Development & Practice Excellence, Hartford HealthCare


“In today’s turbulent healthcare environment, preceptors play a crucial role in the successful professional transition of nurses. The nurse tenure in acute care settings has dropped over the past three years, and many of today’s preceptors are new to their roles. Precepting is both an art and a science. This new edition of Mastering Precepting provides an evidence-based road map for preceptor development and strategies to avoid preceptor burnout.”

Rose O. Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Professor Emeritus, Florida Atlantic University,

Editor-in-Chief, Nurse Leader


“Precepting the new graduate or the experienced nurse has never been more important than in today’s healthcare environment. Beth Ulrich provides strategies, concepts, roles, and tools for nurses learning the foundation of precepting and those looking for new content such as professional identity development and the role of nursing professional development practitioners. This essential book fills the gaps in knowledge for all nurse preceptors.”

Tamara Kear, PhD, RN, CNN, FAAN

System Vice President Professional Practice, Nursing Research & EBP, CommonSpirit Health


“This book is brilliant, relevant, and a must-have resource for all preceptors and those supporting the lifelong learning journey of preceptors. This edition provides updated strategies for all preceptors and the ability to develop meaningful action plans to enhance the learning journeys. Bravo!”

Sylvain Trepanier, DNP, RN, CENP, FAONL, FAAN

SVP, Chief Nursing Officer, Providence, Renton Washington


“Dr. Ulrich and her contributing authors have created a timely, thoughtful, instructive, and inspiring contemporary work. Perhaps today more than ever, teaching the next generation of nurses and healthcare students and learning to help our current practicing colleagues to transition specialties, settings, and roles is not just fundamental but critical to the future. This practical guide to precepting defines both the art and science of shaping practice, education, and research and is core to building and transferring our professional identity as nurses.”


Chief Clinical Officer, AMN Healthcare


“Once we expected faculty to monitor students, for new graduates to ‘figure it out,’ and for a nurse with any experience to transition anywhere needed. Then, as we focused on safety and quality, we realized all those individuals needed support of some kind to acquire the new expected competencies of the role in that setting. Once again, that is what Dr. Ulrich and her colleagues have done in the third edition of Mastering Precepting, with just the right balance of theory and practicality to make this a most useful book.”

Patricia S. Yoder-Wise, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAONL, FAAN

Professor and Dean Emerita,

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Co-Founder and Vice President, the Nurses Legacy Institute; Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing


“Precepting is a critical role for the registered nurse developing personal mastery, while guiding the transition and socialization of an early career nurse or nurse moving into a new specialty. As professionals, being transferors of knowledge and developing our nursing colleagues is inherent in our role. Beth Ulrich has produced a book filled with both foundational concepts and practical processes and tips. This work is a significant contribution to the body of nursing literature, a must-read for anyone building or improving a preceptor development program, and an essential addition to every nurses’ library.”

Gay L. Landstrom, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAONL

SVP and Chief Nursing Officer, Trinity Health

Book Excerpts


Click below to read excerpts from Mastering Precepting (3rd Edition)


Forewards to Mastering Precepting (PDF)


Table of Contents (PDF)

Introduction to Mastering Precepting (PDF)


Sample Chapter from Mastering Precepting (PDF)

Consultations & Speaking Engagements
If you would like Beth Ulrich to consult with your organization or speak at your next function,
contact her at
(281) 795-5805 or at
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