Aim To explore preceptors' views and experiences of preceptoring undergraduate nursing students.Background Undertaking a preceptoring role is acknowledged internationally as complex and challenging. With the introduction of the undergraduate degree programme in Ireland (2002), preceptors were assigned a more formal role in the teaching and assessing of students. As this was a new programme for students and an additional responsibility for preceptors, it was important to investigate how preceptors found this new experience.Methods Data were collected using a mixed methods descriptive approach.Results Many preceptors wanted to become a preceptor and enjoyed the role. The majority of preceptors found the role stressful and burdensome and did not feel adequately supported by their clinical managers. Preceptors expressed the need for protected time, support, feedback and recognition from management for undertaking this role.Conclusion Findings validate problems experienced with preceptoring in other English-speaking countries and contribute further to building a case for vital change in this component of nursing education and nursing practice.Implications for nursing management Managers should focus on the challenges expressed by preceptors in this study and identify appropriate strategies to carefully select, monitor and support preceptors in this complex role.