Fairfax County Health Department Preceptor Program


The Fairfax County Health Department’s Patient Care Services Division utilizes a structured preceptor program to provide orientation for new staff members that ensures that the employee receives adequate preparation to function independently in an assigned service area. The preceptor model is utilized with a goal of having the new Public Health Nurse (PHN) provide basic services independently 60% of the time during week twelve of employment.

A preceptor functions as a teacher and mentor in guiding, directing and supervising technical activities and also serves as a role model and resource person for the employee during orientation.

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  • An individualized orientation plan is developed based on the knowledge, skills and ability the new PHN brings to the work site.
  • Orientation is formatted to allow the new PHN to develop the critical thinking skills that allow for continued growth and learning.
  • The preceptor and the new PHN will utilize a skills assessment to plan the orientation process and a checklist to monitor completion of the plan.
  • The new PHN will complete a series of clinical coaching plans to gain basic skills and competencies required for the job.
  • A combination of didactics classes and self-paced learning modules are also used to gain an understanding of topics, program goals or procedures

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