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Nursing: Preparation for mentorship

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  1. Introduction
  2. The learning needs
  3. Self awareness and being a role model
  4. Management of the learning environment
  5. Prevalence of research to support learning in practice
  6. Procedures used for assessment of student skills
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

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. [...]

[...] This is demonstrated by the need for the student to be able to access and utilize unit nursing guidelines and demonstrate understanding of the interventions she was undertaking. The neonatal unit also participates in active research projects and she was exposed to this process as there is a study being conducted at present. By providing a spoke placement with the research team I hoped to be able to illustrate how nurses can be actively involved in research on a daily basis, even when they are not part of the research team. [...]

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