Nine Things To Look For In Your PMHNP Preceptorship

A PMHNP preceptorship is an essential part of a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner’s education. The ANCC requires 500 hours of precepted clinical experience for all advanced practice nurses. The availability of qualified PMHNP Preceptors is limited, yet the number of students needing preceptorship has increased dramatically over the last 5 years with the growth of new PMHNP programs.

The preceptorship provides an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and learn from experienced healthcare providers. However, not all preceptorships are created equal, and finding the right one can be challenging. Here are nine important things to look for in a PMHNP preceptorship:

Clinical Experience

A good preceptor should have ample experience working in the field of psychiatric-mental health. This should include both clinical experience and teaching experience. A preceptor who has worked in a variety of settings, such as inpatient, outpatient, or community mental health, can provide valuable insight and training. This will help students gain a broad range of skills and experience working with different populations.


It’s essential to work with a preceptor who is an expert in the field of psychiatric nursing. Look for someone who has extensive experience working with patients with a range of psychiatric conditions and who has a good reputation in the community.


A preceptor should be available and responsive to their student’s needs. Look for a preceptor who is willing to take the time to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer guidance when needed.

Patient Population

It is important to consider the patient population the preceptor sees regularly. This will help to ensure that the preceptorship meets the student’s learning needs. A preceptor who sees a diverse range of patients will provide the student with a broad range of clinical experiences.

Clinical Setting

The clinical setting of the preceptorship can be important, as it can impact the types of patients the student will see, the resources available, and the pace of the work. For example, if the student is interested in community mental health, a preceptorship in an outpatient clinic or community mental health center may be ideal.

Teaching Skills and Style

A preceptor should have strong teaching skills and be able to communicate complex concepts in a way that is easy to understand. Look for someone who can provide clear explanations and is willing to teach through hands-on experience. A preceptor who is invested in the student’s learning and growth will be critical to their success. Consider the preceptor’s teaching style, their willingness to provide feedback, and their availability for questions and discussions.

Personal Fit

It’s essential to find a preceptor who you feel comfortable working with and who shares your values and goals. Look for someone who is approachable, supportive, and has a teaching style that resonates with you.

Professional Growth and Networking

A preceptorship should provide opportunities for professional growth, including access to continuing education, professional organizations, and networking opportunities. Look for a preceptorship that will help you develop your skills, build your professional network, and prepare you for a successful career in psychiatric nursing.

Student Expectations

Finally, the student’s expectations for the preceptorship should be considered. Students should have a clear understanding of what they want to learn and accomplish during the preceptorship. This will help ensure that they choose a preceptor who can meet their learning needs and goals.

In conclusion, finding the right PMHNP preceptorship can be challenging, but by looking for these key factors, you can increase your chances of finding a preceptorship that will provide you with an excellent learning experience and prepare you for a successful career in psychiatric nursing.

Authored By 

LifeStance Health
LifeStance Health