top of page
  • Writer's pictureNSWOCC

Everything you need to know about the WOC Institute's Preceptorship Program

NSWOCC Membership Core Program Leader, Shelly Barnes, RN, BN, NSWOC, WOCC (C), interview with WOC Institute Academic Chair, Kimberly LeBlanc, PhD, RN, NSWOC, WOCC (C), FCAN

In June 2023, NSWOCC's Membership Core Program leader, Shelly Barnes, RN, BN, NSWOC, WOCC (C), interviewed our WOC Institute Academic Chair, Kimberly LeBlanc, PhD, RN, NSWOC, WOCC (C), FCAN on everything you need to know about the WOC Institute's Preceptorship Program.

The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Institute NSWOC Program (Wound, Ostomy and Continence Education Program) includes 225 hours of clinical preceptorship. Students consider this the highlight of the program and a highly valuable learning experience. This preceptorship experience ensures that program graduates can apply their theoretical knowledge in divers clinical setting.

The preceptorship experience ensures that program graduates have the knowledge, skill and judgment to care for patients or clients in the many diverse settings encountered by a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence.

Watch this brief interview to get answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about the preceptorship program, including how to become a preceptor and some important words of wisdom.

Listen to the Interview

Read the Transcript

Shelly Barnes 0:00

Hi welcome everyone. My name is Shelley Barnes and I'm a nurse specialize in wound ostomy and continence working in Victoria BC. And today, we're lucky to have Dr. Kim LeBlanc, who is the academic chair for the wound ostomy and continence Institute joining us to talk about preceptorship. So Kim, the Institute offers many different programs do they all have a preceptorship component?

Dr. Kim LeBlanc 0:30

Thanks, Shelly. That's actually a really great question. They don't all have a formal preceptorship, so we start with our flagship courses, which is the Nurses Specialized in Wound Ostomy and Continence course, and our Skin Wellness Associate Nurse course, they both have formal preceptorship components. For the NSWOC course (or the Nurses Specialized Wound Ostomy and Continence course) they actually have a formal extensive preceptorship for each course for wound, ostomy, and continence of 75 to 90 hours of hands-on time, per course. So, it's a very intensive experience where they are one on one with a preceptor and for the Skin Wellness Associate Nurse Course (or SWAN program) we have what they call a self-directed preceptorship. What that means is that students actually seek out certain types of patients and cases within their own work environment and they work through that case under the mentorship of a CNA certified NSWOC. So, it's a little bit of a different perspective and the reason as to why right now we actually haven't expanded our preceptorship programs, is because of the availability of preceptors. That's one of the problems that we're having.

Shelly Barnes 1:53

So, what about the debridement program, Is there a preceptorship associated with that one?

Dr. Kim LeBlanc 2:01

So that's another great question. Because we get asked that a lot, why don't we have hands on component to the debridement course. There's two problems actually, availability of preceptorships, and liability insurance. So we have to look at things from a two prong perspective, when we're placing students we actually have multiple layers that we have to go through to place a student, from registering them with HSPnet, to getting liability insurance, to getting affiliation agreements with the facilities where they're going to actually be doing their preceptorship and mentorship component. So there's a lot of behind the scenes activities that go on, and then from the reverse of that, as well, is that where we have students from across the country, taking the debridement course, finding qualified sites is also an issue. So what we've done is that we've provided students with this strong foundation, a theoretical foundation, so that from a liability standpoint, they can prove that they have the theoretical knowledge. So, we're looking at knowledge, skills and practice in terms of being able to perform a nursing skill they can show that they have the knowledge and then we encourage them within their own workplaces to find that mentor, that they're able to get that mentorship component in. Preceptorship is very complex, and many students don't understand why we can't just arrange placements for people and from a legal standpoint, there's a lot of layers we have to go to in order to be able to place students.

Shelly Barnes 3:49

Thanks, Kim. That leads me to another question. Do learners find their own preceptor? Is it up to the learner to to get that that sorted out?

Dr. Kim LeBlanc 4:03

So, that's a question we get asked a lot and it's actually a collaborative process and one of the issues is how preceptors can be approached actually differs from province to province. different provinces have different rules and there's normally a standard intake such as HSPnet, where we have to put students through a process clearance process. So, in some provinces the students are able to contact their preceptors, and find out their availability, and then they come to us, and they would say, "I would like to do my preceptorship with Kim LeBlanc in her clinic in Ottawa", not a problem and we can do that. Versus if I wanted to place someone with an NSWOC In Alberta, the student is not allowed to actually approach the preceptor, they have to come to us and say, "I would like to do my preceptorship with Nancy nurse at the foothills hospital", and then we have to then turn around and go and contact that nurse at the foothills hospital and say, Are you available on these dates? are you willing on these dates? then we have to go back to the provincial body, and say, We would like to put this student through at this date. And here's all of our agreements and our insurance papers. So, it really differs from province to province, which is why each student is assigned a preceptor coordinator that they work from the time they enter into the program, they'll work collaboratively with them, to find that right fit between their preceptor and themselves, and to let them know what the rules are in their province. And in some cases, it's actually not just in the province, it's in their city, it's in their hospital. So, we know the rules. So, this is why we have to collaborate and sometimes students will come to me and say, "well, you know, I'm friends with Nancy, and she took me in, and you know, I did my whole preceptorship with her", and they'll get really upset when I say, "Well, I'm sorry, it can't count, because we didn't have clearance for you to go in, we didn't have an affiliation agreement, and we didn't have insurance, so I cannot count your preceptorship". And they'll get very upset with me. But, this is why we have these rules in place to have that collaborative approach. And to make sure the students are protected, the preceptors are protected, and all the rules are being followed.

Shelly Barnes 6:23

That's very helpful to know, Kim. Thank you. So, there are rules about preceptorship. I'm wondering about actually becoming a preceptor. I know you've precepted in the past, who can be a preceptor and is there a process to apply.

Dr. Kim LeBlanc 6:40

So, we welcome preceptors, were begging for preceptors. So, in order to be a preceptor, you have to have two years of experience in your field. You do not have to be an NSWOC to be a preceptor, we encourage students to be with NSWOCs. But we also encourage students to spend some of their preceptor time with other healthcare professionals as well. So for instance, if you're doing your continence preceptorship, -...- that's a great experience or with a urologist or with a nurse continence advisor. So, there's different ways that we could bring someone forward. Or for instance, if you're doing your wound preceptorship. And you have the

opportunity to spend time in Dr. Gary Sibbald clinic per se, you know, that's a great experience. So there's many different people who can be preceptors. So, you just have to have two years of experience in the field and there is an application online. So, you can go to the website, which will bring you to the link to the WOC Institute, or you can go to to potential preceptors. And there's a form that gets filled out online that goes to Nicole Denis, who is our preceptor coordinator and certainly if you have any questions, you can either email Nicole Denis, which is, or myself, And we'd be more than happy to answer any questions that a potential preceptor might have, it's such a rewarding and rich experience to be a preceptor, the form is very quick to to fill out and as soon as we know that you're willing and able, we add you to our list, and then you can be paired up with students.

Shelly Barnes 8:33

Sounds great. Thank you. I know you're busy. One final little question, from your experience do you have any tips about what kind of preceptorship to search out? Or should one stay within the program and the area they work in? Or is there value to branching out? What what do you think?

Dr. Kim LeBlanc 8:57

Such a great question. A lot of that comes down to what kind of experiences you're looking for, and sometimes it's practical reason, sometimes especially now, post pandemic, a lot of nurses can't get a lot of extra time off. So it may be easiest for them to do their preceptorship in their own work environment, which there's nothing wrong with. I'm a believer, though that we should try to push ourselves constantly and we should look for those added experiences. So, I won't say how many years ago, but when I did my preceptorships I really branched out, I did some at a children's hospital, I did any clinic I could get into, I tried to have as many different experiences as I could. So that when I went back to my place of work, I came with a new perspective and a broader view of things. And, you know, every healthcare professional you work with is going to approach things in different ways. So, it's really great to have all that different experience that you can then carry forward with you. And, you know, some people have the opportunity, they can actually do their preceptorships in different provinces and that's another unique perspective, because then you get to see how things are done in different provinces. But, I will caution that if you do that, you have to remember that you have to follow by the local policies and procedures in your own province. So, we've had cases where nurses have come from BC to Ontario, the scope of practice for nurses in Ontario is much broader and we can do a lot more especially around debridement, than you can in BC. So in BC, there's a course you have to take, there's different policies in place, and things are very strict and in Ontario, we're given a lot more flexibility. So I think it's so important that you do know your local policies, procedures, and regulatory body. But, the more experiences you can get, the better. You also have to be realistic and, you know, we have some poor nurses who have been struggling to get those preceptorship hours in, not because they don't want to, but because they just can't get the time off work to do it and that's the reality we're working with right now. But, I would like to finish by saying that being a preceptor is such a rich and rewarding experience. I love working with the students when they come into my clinic or they come follow

me in my wound care rounds. It's actually a thrill and it pushes me to make sure that I'm up to date.

Shelly Barnes 11:42

I enjoy having students around as well. They really do bring us back to why we do what we do in our best practice. One more time, where can we find out more about preceptorship if we're looking at our program?

Dr. Kim LeBlanc 12:00

So, if you want to look at our preceptorship programs, you can reach us through several different avenues. The easiest is and go to potential preceptors. You can also link to the site from the website. You can also email me directly or Nicole Denis, so We welcome any questions you may have and Shelly, thank you so much for having me on today.

Shelly Barnes 12:34

Thanks for your time, Kim. We really appreciate it.


Learn more about the WOC Institute Preceptorship Program

173 views0 comments


bottom of page