Kathy Pytel RN

Kathy Pytel RN

Even with 15 years of nursing experience, Kathy Pytel knows she has a lot to learn.  She tells her preceptees this when they get frustrated and wonder how they’ll ever learn everything. Kathy remembers feeling that way as a graduate nurse.

“I tell GNs that it’s a constant learning process,” she says. “I don’t think I’ll ever learn everything I need to know.”

For the many years, Kathy has shared her knowledge, experience and empathy with many of Saint Raphael’s new nurses. In addition to working one-on-one with her preceptees, she spends a week and a half teaching groups of GNs basic skills, like patient assessment.

“When you’re working with the graduate nurses as a group, you build a bond with them,” she says. “Even when they’re working individually with their preceptors, they feel they can come back to you for support.”

Like other preceptors, Kathy finds that most new nurses need help with organization and time management. While in school, they probably cared for one or two patients; in the hospital they’re responsible for four or five.

“To get them into the reality of caring for four or five patients takes a little work,” she says. “You have to find out where they are with their clinical experience. It varies from one individual to another.”

One of the most valuable things a preceptor can help graduate nurses with is confidence, Kathy says.

“A lot of them need to know they’re doing a good job. Sometimes their expectations are so high. They need to realize it takes time and practice to achieve your goals.”
Though precepting can be “exhausting,” it’s very rewarding, says Kathy, who often sees former preceptees in the halls.

“It’s nice to see them become more confident and do things on their own,” she says. “Sometimes I feel like I’m their Mom because of all the nurturing that takes place.”

Page last updated on Oct. 23, 2008