Preceptorship is a period in which newly qualified staff nurses receive support from an experienced nurse to smooth their transition into the service. District nurses (DNs) from the authors' trust informally expressed the need for a better transition between the completion of district nursing education and entry into the workforce. Hence, a structured preceptorship programme was developed and delivered. This article describes this service initiative and its evaluation by preceptors (n=14) and preceptees (newly qualified DNs; n=13). Both groups valued having a structured preceptorship programme. Preceptees agreed that having a named preceptor was very important, and preceptors felt that the role which they played was rewarding. Both groups felt that the role of the DN was a specialist role and that the preceptorship programme helped to support newly qualified staff make the transition into qualified DNs, clinical team leaders and, ultimately, caseload holders. A large-scale study of DN practice is required to develop a national consensus on the structure and content of preceptorship programmes for district nursing.