The Non-Assertive Situations Among Preceptors of Novice Nurses

Monday, 22 July 2013

Eiko Suzuki, PhD1
Miyuki Saito, PhD, RN, PHN2
Yukiko Sato, PhD3
Shiho Sato, MS2
(1)Department of nursing, International University of Health and Welfeare, Tokyo, Japan
(2)School of Nursing, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
(3)School of Nursing, Yamagata University, Yamagata City, Japan

Learning Objective 1: The purpose of this study was to clarify the non-assertive situations among preceptors of novice nurses.

Learning Objective 2: The purpose of this study was to develop a program of assertiveness training for preceptor of novice nurse.


This study describes work situations where preceptors of novice nurses felt “I wanted to decline, but I could not”, and reasons why they felt they could not be assertive toward novice nurses.


A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 52 preceptors of novice nurses. After reading the definition of assertiveness in the questionnaire, and recalling examples at work from the past year, participants were asked about situations where they felt: “I wanted to decline but could not” and reasons why they felt this way. A content analysis based on Krippendorff's method was performed on their replies. The situations described were classified for each participant, and categorized based on the similarity of the situations.


The number of valid responses was 42, and the mean age was 33.3 years.

The situations where preceptors of novice nurses cannot be assertive toward novice nurses yielded the following seven categories: “Nursing practice”, “Dependent behavior”, “Lack of feeling strain”, “Inappropriate language”, “Presentation of the homework”, “Appearance”, “Character of novice nurse”. The reasons yielded seven categories: “Importance of human relationships”, “Reconciliation”, “Consideration to a patient”, “Novice nurse’s quitting”, “Buck-passing”, “Not want to be avoided”, “Others”.


In the previous study, we reported situations where novice nurses are not able to be assertive. In this study we found that preceptors of novice nurses were not able to be assertive, either. The preceptors considered relationships with novice nurses to be important, and wished novice nurses would not quit because of them. After acquiring assertiveness, nurses would be able to work more effectively because they would experience much less stress and burnout. This study reinforced the importance of assertiveness education for preceptors and novice nurses, and suggested encouraging assertive communication throughout the ward.