AIMS:To describe how clinical nurse educators (CliNEs) in Vietnam are prepared for their role; to identify which preparation strategies assist development of confidence in clinical teaching; and to measure the effect of educational qualifications and professional background on perceived confidence levels. BACKGROUND:The quality of clinical teaching can directly affect the quality of the student learning experience. The role of the clinical educator is complex and dynamic and requires a period of adjustment for successful role transition to occur. Planned orientation and specific preparation programmes assist transition and reduce anxiety for new CliNEs. There is, however, a lack of clear evidence to identify the form this preparation should take or which strategies are likely to facilitate the development of role confidence. DESIGN:Descriptive survey study. METHODS:Cross-sectional surveys were used to collect data from 334 CliNEs during January-March 2015. RESULTS:Eight preparation methods commonly used in Vietnam were identified. There was a small yet significant association between preparation and CliNEs' perceived confidence. Formal preparation methods, and postgraduate qualifications and years of clinical teaching experience were linked to increased confidence in clinical teaching. Conversely, informal mentorship was found to hinder confidence development. CONCLUSIONS:This study identifies several preparation strategies that significantly enhance clinical educator confidence and readiness for their complex role. These preparation strategies drawn from the Vietnamese context, provide important examples for the wider nursing community to consider.