Mentorship for Health Social Care Practitioner’s
Mentoring students in clinical practice is an important aspect of nursing. Nurses or mentors consider their profession to be practice based and work hard to ensure that a larger part of learning and assessment takes place in the clinical area. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2006 defines the term mentor as, the role of the nurse, midwife or health visitor who facilitates learning, supervises and assesses students in the practice setting. While it is recognised that important learning happens in lectures including teaching of concepts, research and critical thinking skills, these are best integrated with skills during carefully supervised practice placements (Stuart, 2003). The NMC (2008b) states that clinically based nurses have a duty to teach and mentor others while remaining accountable for the delegation of learning tasks. The essay will demonstrate the author’s knowledge and understanding of the role of the mentor and focus on accountability within the assessment process. The author will explore ways of establishing effective working relationships with the student and critically assess the benefits of creating an environment conducive to learning. The author will use Gibbs, 1988 Reflective cycle to explore the process of learning and reflect on his experience of mentoring a student nurse on placement. Pseudonyms have been used to protect the anonymity and privacy of all individuals. Review and analysis of the learning environment:
The environment being reviewed is a specialist service for people with learning disabilities and complex health needs. Learning on the ward is as important as university learning as it allows students to link theory to practice (Stuart, 2007). The Department of Health (DH, 2001) recognises that practice placements need to be continuously developed to enable students accessing these placements to gain useful and meaningful experiences. In addition students should be asked to provide feedback to the ward at the end of the placement, as this will inform mentors of what students identify as the strengths and weakness of the area as a learning environment. The author used a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis (Price, 2004) to critically review the learning environment and establish the challenges faced in creating an environment conducive for learning. The SWOT analysis (Appendix1) carried out on the learning environment suggests that a key strength is the large multidisciplinary team involvement and good partnership working (DH, 2002). On placement the student had contact with a variety of patients with a wide range of clinical needs. A team mentoring system exists within the nursing team in which all registered nursing staff have an active role in the supervision and support of students whether qualified as a mentor or not. The system allowed the student to have access to all the nurses, hence being adequately supported and guided by the whole team. The learning environment also has good links with the link lecturer, which enabled good communication and support networks for both the students and the mentor (Burns and Patterson, 2004). The weaknesses as identified by the SWOT analysis suggests that there is a lack of evidence based resources, few hard copy books or journals are available within the ward. The DH (2001) states that as part of student’s on-going learning, an evidence-based approach to practice is fundamental. In the ward there is no specific resource area to direct students to, resources are there, but are in a variety of places within the ward. To address this, information needs to be centralised into one office then the mentor can guide the student to this area. With increased patient health needs, the ward is also extremely busy which makes student assessments complex and difficult to ensure objectivity of practise based assessments. Busy clinicians struggle to find...
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