The following discussion will look at the role of the mentor within the nursing profession and utilize my experience as an associate mentor to date to explore the issues raised. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2007) considers a mentor as being a registered nurse who is a facilitator of a student's learning and supervises and assesses the student nurses placed under their care. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) further outlines 8 areas of competency that a mentor must achieve in order to fulfill their role to an adequate standard. These are: Establishing effective working relationships, Facilitation of learning, Assessment and accountability, Evaluation of learning, creating an environment for learning, Context of practice, Evidence-based practice and Leadership.
These areas will be explored further in the body of this discussion. They will be consolidated into five topics which although discussed separately cannot be considered in isolation, as one influences the other. These are: identifying learning needs, self-awareness, being a role model, managing the learning environment, the prevalence of research to support learning in practice and the procedures used for assessment of student skills. The location of this learning process is in a tertiary hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
[...] Department of Health (2000) The NHS Plan: A Plan for Investment, A Plan for Reform. London: The Stationery Office. Duffy Kathleen (January 2003) Failing students: a qualitative study of factors that influence the decisions regarding assessment of students' competence in practice. Caledonian Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre School of Nursing, Midwifery and Community Health Glasgow Caledonian University Duffy (2005) Failing Students Nursing and Midwifery Council Research Report. London: NMC. Ferraro (2000) Reflective Practice and Professional Development. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on teaching and Teacher Education. [...]
[...] Prior to attending an associate mentor course and the preparation for mentorship course I had had regular contact with students which involved one-to-one teaching, supervising and supporting. I currently work in a specialist nursing role where there are students from different learning institutions and different branches of learning (child, adult and midwifery) with levels of experience. This has meant that it has been difficult at times to easily know what the students learning needs are. To address this I accessed the information held by the unit education team and my own mentor regarding the different learning institutions and the placement requirements/learning objectives they have for their students. [...]
[...] Duffy (2005) found that there were a number of reasons for mentors not failing students. These included a generalized unwillingness to fail, the belief that others would take on this role for them, insufficient evidence to fail a student as the process had not started early enough in the placement and the practice of giving the benefit of the doubt. Duffy went on to explore the consequences of failing to fail students. Participants in Duffy's study confirmed that students were passing assessments when there was some doubt about their clinical competence, and that some of these students achieve registration despite these misgivings. [...]
[...] As a result I undertook to ensure that our patient allocation would provide a workload to allow more time for effective listening and discussion. I also endeavored to leave the clinical area and have quiet, undisturbed space to review and discuss events with my student. This improved the teaching and assessment process as I could gather more information regarding my student's needs and learning on a daily basis. Another aspect of self-awareness is to understand one's teaching style and how this would influence my students learning. [...]
[...] This included exchanging names, making sure she had an area for her personal items, codes for the changing room, toilet and the kitchen. During nursing handover I introduced her to the rest of the team. Following this I ensured I orientated her to the unit more thoroughly showing her around the unit and explaining basic safety regulations (such as emergency numbers and fire procedures). As her first shift was an early, we were unable to undertake the initial interview until later in the shift. [...]
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