Brighton Journal of Research in Health Sciences

Supporting Research in the School of Health Sciences


Wednesday 22nd July 2015

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Practitioner role resilience: applying a 5th wave collaborative approach to support the early career phase.

Caroline Hudson Senior Lecturer


A ‘critical point’ for practitioner resilience is the early career phase (Hunter and Warren, 2014), otherwise termed the preceptorship period. Tailored to the needs of novice professionals (preceptees), the preceptorship literature has focused on the preceptees’ experience without addressing the adversity faced by the experienced professionals (preceptors), or their support needs (Muir et al, 2013). Challenges to the preceptor role are regularly referred to in the literature, including role strain, time restraints and workload pressures (Rooke, 2014; Morton, 2013; Chen et al, 2011).

Given the potential for role fatigue and preceptor burnout (Blozen, 2010), and the transitional stress for novice professional, practitioner resilience can be defined as the capacity to withstand and change adversity in practice (emerging 5th wave of resilience researchHart, Gagnon, Aumann, & Heaver, 2013). This participatory study seeks to capture the counter-narratives of both preceptees and preceptors to determine what positively influences preceptorship relationships, using realist evaluation to examine, ‘What works for whom, in what circumstances and in what respects, and how?’ (Pawson and Tilley, 2004 p2). Based on Heron’s (1996) earlier co-inquiry process, this thesis involves researching alongside preceptees and preceptors as co-researchers.

Co-researchers will identify ways of challenging and overcoming some of the issues, and co-produce knowledge leading to outputs, such as a Preceptorship Resilience Framework. Co-researchers will be involved in the research process throughout the study, and this will be as important to the research design as to the findings. This presentation reports on the early phases of a collaborative study on practitioner resilience, linking with the resilience research and practice programme, co-ordinated by Professor Angie Hart and collaborators ( and will share some of the innovative approaches to researching alongside co-researchers at the early stages of a doctoral thesis.

Reference and resources:

Chen, Y., Duh, Y., Feng, Y., & Huang, Y. (2011). Preceptors’ Experiences Training New Graduate Nurses: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach. Journal of Nursing Research, 19(2), 132–40.

Hart, A., Gagnon, E., Aumann, K., and Heaver, B. (2013). in Uniting resilience research and practice development with activism to challenge social adversity. Resilience forum presentation by Hart and Gagnon Accessed 11/01/15 Available at:

Hunter, B. and L Warren. (2014) Midwives experiences of Workplace resilience. Midwifery 30(8):92-934

Morton, S. (2013). What support do Health visitor mentors need? Community Practitioner, 86(8), 32–35.

Muir, J., Ooms, A., Tapping, J., Marks- Maran, D., Philips, S., and Burke, L. (2013). Preceptors’ perceptions of a preceptorship programme for newly qualified nurses. Nurse Education Today, 33, 633–638 .

Pawson. R. and N. Tilley. (2004) Realist Evaluation. Sage: London

Rooke, N. (2014). An evaluation of Nursing and midwifery sign off, new mentors and nurse lecturers’ understanding of the sign off mentor role. Nurse Education in Practice, 14(1), 43–8


Caroline Hudson – I am a Senior lecturer in the School of Health Sciences with a nursing background and an MSc in Professional Health Care Education. I have worked at the University of Brighton, for over 10 years and lead on practice based education programmes and embedding resilience across curriculum. I am currently undertaking a PhD doctoral study, entitled, ‘A realistic evaluation of role resilience in preceptorship: development of a Preceptorship Resilience Framework using a co-operative inquiry process’ and have a special interest in developing practitioner resilience using collaborative research approaches.

Keywords: Role resilience, Practitioners, Preceptorship, realist evaluation and co-researchers

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