Mentorship Program for Healthcare Professionals

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The purpose of this essay is to explore the mentorship of a virtual student named Chris during her placement. I will explore the different processes using reflection of planning, facilitation, feedback from co-mentors that the student has worked with and the monitoring of the assessment of learning. I will use evidence-based literature to discuss the mentoring process of Chris’s journey from the start to the end of her placement. I will than conclude my essay with a summary of main points used. The role of a mentor “is an NMC registrant who, following successful completion of an NMC approved mentor preparation programme – or comparable preparation that has been accredited by an HEI as meeting the NMC mentor requirements – has achieved the knowledge, skills and competence required to meet the defined outcomes”. According to the NMC 2017 “the role as a registered nurse or midwife is ultimately about protecting the public and as a mentor supporting students, you are responsible for assessing their competence/incompetence. Deemed fully accountable for these verdicts, you should be able to defend the assessment decisions you make about students in practice”.

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This role is important. As a mentor, you are responsible for ensuring that a student can meet the NMC code of conduct at all times from when they will qualify. This is why students are required to complete placements during their training to ensure that they will meet the required skills to ensure effective treatment to patients unsupervised. There are three stages during a placement that the student and mentor meet formally. Initial, mid-point and final interview. All of which are important. It gives both the student and mentor the opportunity to understand what is expected from the student and what support is in place for the student whilst on placement. Preparing the student for the placement as it gives valuable insight to the students learning styles. There are a number of different learning styles used to aid a student’s journey during a placement. Honey and Mumford, namely: activist, pragmatist, theorist and reflector (Honey and Mumford, 1986). I feel that this gives both mentor and student time to discuss and understand learning needs and different strategies that can be used to aid development. According to Chris, she states that she is an activist learning, following this, if following Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains (1956) Chris would come under analysis as she prefers on the job training. According to an article by Jon Rosewell (2005).

Activists learn least when:

  • listening to lectures or reading long explanations;
  • reading, writing and thinking on their own;
  • analysing and interpreting lots of data;
  • following precise instructions.

Establishing Chris’s learning needs this meets the NMC (2008) requirements frame work domains, facilitation of learning, creating an environment for learning and the use of evidence-based practice. During the placement a SWOT assessment was carried out to consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to Chris’s learning during her placement. Based on (Learned et al., 1969) SWOT analysis tool that originated in the business world, “the overall purpose of a SWOT analysis is to examine the internal and external factors that help or hinder your department in achieving each of your objectives”. Once established a student’s learning style and taking a SWOT assessment it is important to go through a student’s orientation pack and what resources are available in the placement area. It should also outline the students shift patterns, where to access policies and procedures. Once this is established the initial interview can be completed.

It is important that a student is welcomed at the place as this can affect the student’s performance/ expectation of the placement. Students who do not feel a sense of belonging may not be motivated to learn and achieve excellence. (Worrall 2007). One of the most important elements of the first week of a practice placement is to develop a rapport with the student (Walsh 2014). Orientation can be a lengthy process but is essential to a successful placement (Beskine 2009). Ensuring that the student’s first day is one that is not too busy and allowing them to start at a mutually convenient time of day enables the student and their mentor or practice teacher to spend time with each other to assist an appropriate orientation (Gray and Smith 2000, Walsh 2014). The mentor and student should go through the practice assessment document to complete essential skills that need completing as well as if there is an action place brought forward from any previous placement. This is to ensure the student has the opportunity to develop the skills needed to pass the placement and to continue development in this area. A midpoint interview was held with Chris to establish any concerns. Witness statements where used in order to provide feedback to Chris for area’s of concern. One of the issues highlighted was time keeping, this factor breaches the NMC code of conduct as it comes under professional values. Communication was another factor that other staff members had concerns. All nurses must use excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Their communications must always be safe, effective, compassionate and respectful. NMC (2010)

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