An evaluation of a preceptorship programme for newly qualified occupational therapists

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Following the introduction of preceptorship as a requirement for most newly qualified practitioners in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, a preceptorship programme for occupational therapists was designed. This was the first of its kind within occupational therapy and was endorsed by the College of Occupational Therapists. Participation in preceptorship was intended to ease the transition of newly qualified occupational therapists.

This paper offers a definition of preceptorship for the profession in the United Kingdom and reports on a small qualitative study that evaluated the extent to which the interventions of the preceptorship programme ameliorated the challenges of transition. The evaluation was conducted within a realist framework. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews from four pairs of newly qualified occupational therapists and preceptors during the pilot year. The findings suggest that the preceptorship programme was successful in supporting the development of new practitioners and that implementation was optimised through strong leadership, a learning culture and positive supervision.

This paper contributes to the body of knowledge relating to the transitional experience of occupational therapists and recommends changes to the programme to optimise its effectiveness for practice.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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