The role of preceptorship in the training of the nursing undergraduates in Basic Care: a descriptive-exploratory study


Alexandre Campos de Aguiar1, Cláudia Mara de Melo Tavares2

1,2 Fluminense Federal University


This is a dissertation project of the Professional Masters in Education in Health of Fluminense Federal University.
The primary aim is to investigate the methods and techniques of interaction between the preceptor and the nursing undergraduate student that permits the learning of professional nursing practice as part of the Family Health Strategy (FHS). The detailed aims are to discuss the format of interactions with nursing undergraduates based on the activities performed as part of the FHS, to show ways of increasing the awareness of nursing students with regard to the importance of Basic Care. This study adopts a qualitative approach involving participative workshops for nurses working in Basic Care in the municipality of Vassouras, based on the experiences observed in terms of the preceptorship of nursing students working in the FHS.
Descriptors: Students, Nursing; Family Health Program; Preceptorship



Although the Family Health Strategy (FHS) is clearly understood as a healthcare model, it is not taken completely into consideration by Brazilian society or by health professionals. There is a cultural issue related to the sub-valorization of Basic Care with regard to other health areas and state-of-the-art technologies. The largest pedagogical challenge is mainly to change this concept during the education of nursing professionals, not by imposing established ideas and concepts, but by stimulating the student so he can understand and see the importance of the FHS, not only as part of the formal academic education process itself, but also in the context of the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS, in Portuguese) and in the life of the Brazilian people. FHS was designed in such a way as to strengthen the SUS, being part of the reorganization of Basic Health Care in Brazil, and is a priority of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, which now understands it as an important factor in improving health infrastructure. However, even in the face of such efforts, the traditional model of healthcare – focused in curative-individual care – predominates, and the professionals following it do not take into consideration the sociocultural context of the families involved(1,2), thereby compromising the legitimacy of the recognized caring model(2).

Family Health Units (FHU) still have nursing undergraduates whose professional education is aimed only at performing technical proceedings. They do not valorize the interdisciplinary aspects of professional projects, nor deal with the client as a whole, and in many cases they reproduce in the FHS the logic of ambulatorial services. Such a situation occurs despite the fact there has been a nationwide reorientation of nursing curricula, which aims to empower nursing activity in the field of Basic Health Care.

We know that the super-valorization of the specialties and state-of-the-art technologies, and the consequent sub-valorization of Primary Care, is a cultural issue, not only for health professionals, but also for the users of SUS. The change in this mindset is a great challenge to be faced by both health professionals and the academia. Thus, we assume that, to ensure the positive interaction of nursing undergraduates in the context of FHS, it is necessary to promote the participation of such undergraduates in all actions developed by health professionals in terms of service to the community. For such changes, the Family Health team must be fully behind the program, working multi-disciplinarily, inter-institutionally, and working towards the promotion of health. This implies the need for changing practices and breaking barriers, some of which are connected to a lack of the effective incorporation of SUS principles and intersectoral work on the part of these health professional(3).



To what extent are nursing undergraduates welcomed in the FHS? How do such students experience the practice in Basic Health Care? How do their professors educate them in the context of FHS?



To investigate the methods and techniques of interaction between the preceptor and the nursing student that helps in the practical learning of the actions performed by the nurse in the area of FHS; To discuss the formats of interaction of the nursing undergraduate with the activities he undertakes within the FHS; To find ways to raise awareness on the part of the nursing undergraduate of the importance of Basic Health Care; To select practical activities involved in the FHS routine that assist the education of the student in order to strengthen the principles of SUS.



In the area of guided education with regard to Basic Health Care, on the one hand the nursing undergraduates do not take the internship in FHS seriously if compared to hospital internship and, on the other hand, the nurse who works in FHS does not try to find new formats to attract undergraduates to work in Basic Health Care.



This is a descriptive-exploratory study which adopts a qualitative approach.  It will be performed through workshops involving nurses who work in Basic Health Care in the municipality of Vassouras, Brazil. It will take place during the month of November 2013 in the Laboratory of Pedagogic Practices of the Nursing Course, of Severino Sombra University (USS, in Portuguese), based on the experiences of preceptorship of nursing undergraduates working in FHS.

Based on this study we intend to develop a strategy/pedagogic technology that helps to involve nursing undergraduates in FHS.

The collection of data will be done through a focal group of 10 preceptor nurses (the total number of those who work as preceptors). This technique permits, through the use of a discussion forum, the construction of a group collective understanding. This technique is appropriate in qualitative research, where it is intended to explore a particular focus or, in other words, a special issue.

The data analysis will be performed based on a number of proposed topic categories.  This consists in the ordering, classification and final analysis of the data. During the first stage, the group interview will be transcribed and organized. This will permit a general view of what was said by the participants.



1. Tesser, C.D. Medicalização social (II): limites biomédicos e propostas para a clínica na atenção básica. Interface - Comunic., Saude, Educ., v.10, n.20, p.347-62, 2006.

2. Markman Neto, L. Políticas de Saúde, Sistema Único de Saúde e a prática do Programa de Saúde da Família num núcleo específico: limites e desafios. 2004.

3. Ferreira VA, Heringer A, Barros ALS, Acioli S. The principles of United Health System and the educative practices of nurses in the Family Health Program [ serial on the Internet ] 2006 Vol 5 n 3 [ Cited 2010 Jun 9 ] Available from:



Project Data:
Dissertation Project of the Professional Master in Education in Health of the Fluminense Federal University. Submitted to the Ethics in Research Committee of the Fluminense Federal University, awaiting approval.
Tutor: Cláudia Mara de Melo Tavares.



Received: 04/07/2013
Revised: 11/09/2013
Approved: 11/09/2013