Critically examine the mentors accountability in their role as facilitators of learning and in the assessment of students competence.
Over the last decade the National Health Service (NHS) has continued its drive to optimise health outcomes, reduce health inequalities and conform to nationally agreed best practice in order to provide a more patient centred service. Accordingly, the present culture needed to adapt in a way as to encourage and strengthen clinical leadership and develop a workforce seeking to innovate and continuously improve through learning and research (Department of Health, 2005). Such a projected change within the health service has had a direct impact on nursing careers and nurse education both pre-registration and post-registration and has implications not only for those receiving education but also for those providing education. Through review of nursing education literature, this assignment intends to critically analyse the accountability of mentors in practice, looking at how their role as facilitators of learning and assessment is utilised within my own clinical setting, and how we, as nurses, assess a student’s competence. Furthermore discussions will focus around its impact on pre-registration students, identifying limitations mentors have in applying and reinforcing its importance in current practice. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2008a:p19) define the term ‘Mentor’ as a registrant who has successfully completed an NMC approved mentor preparation programme and becomes responsible and accountable for organising and co-ordinating student learning activities in practice. This includes, supervising students in learning situations and providing constructive feedback, setting realistic learning outcomes and monitoring achievement, assessing total performance including skills, attitudes and behaviours as well as providing evidence and liaising with other colleagues if concerns are identified about the student’s achievement. Literature suggests that using of mentors in clinical placements can assist in the learning process and is it beneficial when a good mentor/student relationship has developed with mutual respect, consistency and partnership (Andrews and Robert 2003, Pulsford 2002). The success of any nursing student within a clinical placement is multi-faceted. This is further enhanced by the complicated nature of education and the perception of competencies to be achieved whether mentee or mentor. The process of moving forward with the knowledge and skill-sets must be supported and nurtured in order to facilitate a standard of care that is deemed safe, competent and most importantly accountable. If as nurses, we are to standardise the learning environment and assessment in practice, then the responsibility and accountability as facilitators of learning is of great importance. The Nursing and Midwifery Council monitor current nursing practice. Its main aim is to protect the public by ensuring that high standards of care are maintained through approving and monitoring the educational programme used to train pre and post-registration nurses (Quinn and Hughes, 2007 p67). Such standards within the nursing profession are set and maintained by documents such as the Code of Professional Conduct (NMC, 2004) and Standards of Proficiency for pre-registration nurses, which need to be met in order to ensure nursing students enter the profession providing safe and effective practice for patients (NMC, 2004). In terms of pre-registration nursing, it has become a crucial role for clinical settings such as my own to ensure that standards of proficiency are met and that student nurses gain a wide variety of experience on clinical placement during their training. The principles behind effective mentoring and effective student learning involve a number of factors, which the NMC incorporates into eight domains that provide standards for supporting learning and assessment in practice (NMC...
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