“Everybody knows your name”: Experiences of Belonging in Rural Preceptorship


rural nursing education
rural preceptorship
participatory action research


Background: Inherently, preceptorship, is challenging and stressful for nursing students. To date, there is a dearth of literature concerning the challenges and opportunities experienced by members of the preceptorship triad namely the nursing student, their faculty advisor, and the preceptor.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with rural preceptorship by nursing students, their faculty advisors and preceptors.

Method: Photovoice was drawn on as a creative approach to participatory action research (PAR). This method has been found to empower and engage participants as co-researchers with the ultimate goal of implementing change derived from the priorities of the community, in this case, the teaching and learning experiences of nursing students (n=9), their preceptors and their faculty advisors (n=5). 

Findings: As participants described their experiences throughout the rural preceptorship placement, belongingness emerged throughout the data as a predominant theme. Moreover, the experience of belonging had a significantly positive impact on student learning and overall rural preceptorship experience. 

Conclusions: Relationships between the nursing student and members of the health care team were found to be critical to preceptorship success in rural communities and the motivation among new graduates, to seek permanent employment in the rural community post-graduation.


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