In this blog, Bryony Fordham from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust writes about her experiences of becoming a Nursing Associate (NA) and her experience of preceptorship.


We had finished what felt like the shortest 18 months of our lives and we had our bright Nursing Associate futures ahead of us. One more step, however, was between us and that shining future of autonomous practice: Preceptorship.

Similar to the Registered Nursing course, after completing the NA course, all registered professionals have to complete the Preceptorship course. This bridges the gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice. With multiple competencies to sign off throughout the course and regular catch-ups with the Preceptorship team, I felt well supported and confident in this next step.

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), we have a lovely Preceptorship team who go above and beyond to make sure that everyone feels confident and safe practicing in their job role. The Nursing Associate Preceptorship course lasted for 12 months, consisting of one meeting each month. We started out having face to face meetings; it was great to see everyone and get to know other people going through the same experiences as you. However, part way through our preceptorship COVID struck, meaning we only had two face-to-face sessions and then it was over to MS Teams.

During these sessions, we discussed changes in the Trust, guidelines or policies or if anybody new had joined the Trust. We then moved on to speaking about a topic chosen by the preceptorship team. One topic was Confidence in the Workplace. We shared good examples of witnessing confidence in practice and this developed into speaking about role models we had from student placements or previous job roles. We then debated, ‘Is there such a thing as too much confidence?’.

The Preceptorship team encourage people to do a presentation for the rest of the group about their job role and the team they work for. This isn’t mandatory, but it can be interesting for peers to learn what everyone else does and what other fields of practice exist.

During my preceptorship, I was working in Mental Health nursing, but wished to move to Adult nursing. By listening to other people speak about their Adult nursing jobs, I was learning about potential job roles I could apply for. It was like dipping my toe into the water without fully submerging. During presentations, it was a perfect time to ask questions about their day-to-day roles.

The group itself was very supportive, both staff and peers. It was a safe space to speak about any difficulties people were experiencing in their new role and by sharing it, other people would come forward with similar concerns or even solutions. It was a really positive atmosphere, a time to reflect on how far we had come in our careers and how our opinions and views on nursing had developed since finishing the course.

The most important part of the preceptorship for me was the question, “What next?” Within the group we all had different ideas of what we wanted from the next stage of our nursing career. Some went on to the teaching side of nursing, some stayed as nursing associates because they loved their roles, and others, including myself, went on to the next chapter, Registered Nursing.

When I came back for ‘chapter two’, my preceptorship in Registered Nursing, it was just as good as the first time!

Bryony Fordham


Blog written in March 2024

Career Path 2016-2023:

2016 – Began working for the NHS in Mental Health as a health care assistant.

2018 – Started the Nursing Associate (NA) course.

2020 – Began the preceptorship for NA course.

2020/2021 – Started a new job in Adult Health in the District Nursing Team

2021/2022 – Began the Registered Nursing top up course.
2023 – Began preceptorship for the Registered Nursing course.


Bryony’s other articles:

Reflecting on a Year of Being a Community Nursing Associate – The Queen’s Nursing Institute (

Transitioning from a Registered Nursing Associate to RN – what’s changed? – The Queen’s Nursing Institute (

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