The purpose of this article is to report preceptor perceptions of the process of evaluating nursing students in a rural setting. A grounded theory methodology was used to carry out this study to ascertain what is actually going on in the rural preceptorship experience. Twenty-six preceptors from rural areas in two western Canadian provinces participated in the study. These preceptors worked with fourth year nursing students in the final year of their baccalaureate programs. The core variable that emerged in this study was identified as “the challenge of the formal evaluation process”. The implications of the findings are that: evaluation should be characterized as the responsibility of the preceptor, student and faculty triad; the scope of each role should be clearly defined and; that preceptors require preparation for the evaluation process, which is specifically ‘rural’ in content.
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