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Nursing preceptor

Preceptors…working wonders every day.

"The gift of an exceptional orientation by an inspiring preceptor can never be understated."
-Kristin Strand, RN

Our nursing department preceptor’s work wonders every day; they make all the difference to our new staff and nursing students. Precepting is an incredibly important role and responsibility. Not only do preceptors teach, but they are mentors and role models who have consistently demonstrated a passion and commitment to excellence. They are experts in the areas of clinical practices, adult learning styles, and organizational, prioritization and time management skills and they possess exceptional interpersonal skills. Our preceptors teach and support others to successfully transition into their new role and to be the best nurses they can be.

Becoming a nurse preceptor

Each nursing area identifies specific nurses to be the preceptors for their clinical area of practice. Interested nursing staff must complete an application and discuss precepting with their manager, once approved additional and specific preceptor training must be completed. During Nurses Week/Hospital Week, six preceptors were selected by the Nursing Recruitment, Retention and Recognition council as our 'Preceptors of the Year.'

Regions Hospital - Nursing preceptors group image

(Left to right) Teri Wagner, Chris Boese VPPCS, Kristin Lallak, Ginny Russell, Deb Johnson, Pasha Bortnova, Sarah StClair

Regions Hospital - Teri Wagner

Teri Wagner RN

Teri was hired in 1989 as a new grad nurse "into her dream job" in our former NICU, now called the Special Care Nursery. She has been precepting for 23 years and has precepted every staff member currently working on her unit!" I love being a preceptor as it gives me an opportunity to teach not just skills, but sometimes mindset as well. Providing Best Care Best Experience is all about the little details and I love watching my preceptee's grow and become empowered with their knowledge and experiences." In addition to precepting Teri is an active member of the unit practice council, Teri acts as the charge nurse and is a member of the American Academy of Neonatal Nurses. "I feel so lucky to be doing what I love. I am the parent of a preemie and that experience really gave me insight to the emotions that take place when dreams turn South unexpectedly."

Comments from coworkers:

  • "She utilizes every minute she spends precepting, even when the census is low."
  • "Teri sets up mock situations to teach new things."
  • "Even before my first day in the SCN Teri made me feel welcomed, wanted and excited for this new challenge, I received a letter in the mail from her introducing herself and telling me what to expect on the first day. I felt like I had an instant friend."
Regions Hospital - Sara StClair

Sara StClair RN Orthopedics

"Nurses wear so many hats, and as a nurse I've learned to appreciate the diverse skills of my colleagues." Sara has been a preceptor for over 2 years, "I love meeting new people and helping them connect to others and I enjoy helping nurses get a good start in their new job." In addition to precepting, Sara co-leads the orthopedic unit practice council and has attained her ANCC medical/surgical certification. Being a nurse has made a big impact on Sara, "I approach each shift with my grandmother's advice in mind... "Treat others as you want to be treated."
In the future Sara hopes to work with new grad nurses in a residency program and also has a strong interest in diabetic education.

Comments from coworkers:

  • "Sara is always professional and approachable, and she is always eager to learn new things."
  • "Sara has a calm demeanor in helping nurses tackle overwhelming situations in a very positive manner."
  • "She encouraged me, constantly gave me positive feedback and provided me with tips for improvement-in a very constructive way!"
  • "I cannot say enough about the positive experience I had with her."
  • "I only wish everyone has the opportunity to be touched by Sara."
Regions Hospital - Pasha Bortnova

Pasha Bortnova RN Mental Health

Pasha has worked at Regions for five years and became a preceptor in 2012. "I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others. In addition, I also learn a lot in return from each new nurse." In addition to precepting Pasha is a member of our family advisory board. In the future she plans to attain her specialty certification in Mental Health nursing." I admire how dedicated the staff is in regards to patient care and the conditions that the hospital can provide for the patients. Everyone is truly working very hard at offering their patients the best experience and care."

Comments from coworkers:

  • "Pasha helps new staff in Mental Health feel ready, confident and reassures them that they have supportive staff around them as they come off of orientation. She goes above and beyond in this area."
  • "She takes the time to provide me (DNE) specific feedback on new staff and when she sees a trend in training needs for new staff she always lets me know. With this information I am able to make adjustments to include this information with the general orientation to Mental Health."
Regions Hospital - Kristin Lallak

Kristin Lallak RN Observation Unit

Kristin holds a BSN and will complete her MSN with a focus in education in December 2013. In addition she has attained her medical/surgical specialty certification from the ANCC. Kristin precepts and mentors not only new nursing staff, but senior nursing students as well." I love to see each individual evolve into their role as a nurse. Watching them put the pieces of the puzzle together and seeing them have an 'ah ha' moment is when I know they truly understand a process or concept, it's amazing to see and it is so rewarding to help them get to that point." As a child Kristen stated she always wanted to be a teacher. When she was 9 years old her sister was hospitalized and the nurse asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. "I responded, 'a teacher, but your job looks like so much fun too!' The nurse responded with "a nurse is also a teacher." "Instantly, I knew I was going to be a nurse!"

Comments from coworkers:

  • From a student: "It's terrifying being a nursing student and Kristin definitely makes me feel less scared." "She ensures that I feel like a part of the team and not just a student, for example she introduces me to nurses, MD's, social workers etc and includes me in all patient decision making."
  • "She is really great at making her preceptees critically think. Instead of quickly answering she first asks the nurse what he or she thinks."
  • "She challenges and supports each nurse to be the best nurse they can be."
  • "As a preceptor Kristin teaches due-diligence and commitment to patient safety and uses hospital policy to guide nursing cares, while encouraging the appropriate amount of professional independence that nursing requires."
  • "Kristin’s contagious positive attitude and passion for teaching are evident in her practice and has truly impacted the quality of care provided on C63."
  • "She has a personal warmth and compassion, new staff repeatedly comments on their enjoyment of working with her and often come back to her for questions or affirmation after orientation has been completed."

Deb Johnson RN PACU

Deb has worked at Regions for 31 years and has been a preceptor for the past 10 years. "I receive a lot of satisfaction precepting new nurses and sharing my years of experiences with them. I feel I learn as much from the people I precept as they hopefully learn from me. I feel very humbled to have been nominated for this award and thank the wonderful people I work with."

Comments from coworkers:

  • "Deb consistently receives praise from new staff for the outstanding job she does precepting."
  • "She remains calm in crisis situations and assists new staff with prioritizing."
  • "Debby is a friend and a mentor to all."
  • "She cares deeply for our patients."
  • "Debby explains policies in a way everyone can understand."
  • "I love working with her, on the days she is not here I actually feel the void."
  • "Regions should know this special person."
  • "She has worked staff through the documentation process in recovery over and over until they feel comfortable and she feels they are comfortable."
Regions Hospital - Ginny Russell

Ginny Russell RN SICU

Ever since her first job as a nursing assistant in a nursing home, Ginny knew she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others. "Nursing has given me the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others every day. Hopefully, I have made and will continue to make, the world a better place in a small way." Ginny has been a preceptor for over 9 years, "I wanted all incoming nurses to feel welcomed, comfortable, and confident on the SICU as it helps with building unit morale and, ultimately, patient care. Because of these beliefs, I decided to become a preceptor." Ginny states that she appreciates the ambition and eagerness to learn that she sees in the incoming nurses. "I take great pride in watching preceptees develop into nurses who think critically, decisively and accurately while always delivering compassionate care."

Comments from coworkers:

  • "Ginny has taken me under her wing on the SICU."
  • "Ginny has the ability to know when to step in and take the lead and when not to."
  • "After my very first code, Ginny discussed with me what had happened and we went over the scenario again. This helped me to really learn the actions and steps needed when a code is called."
  • "Ginny has excellent communication skills; this allows her to develop trusting relationships with ease."
  • "She approaches situations with an open mind, calm demeanor and a respect for all."