Mentoring is the process in which I myself, as a mentor would be responsible for overseeing the career and development of another person (Clutterbuck, 2001). This is what I was taught during my mentoring course and to follow this I started the first shift with my student by having an initial meeting. My student highlighted to me that this was his first ever placement. He sat there fidgeting with his hands and appeared quite anxious. Most new situations have the potential to cause anxiety (Nicklin and Kenworthy, 2000). I felt it was my responsibility to help, alleviate this anxiety, especially as anxiety is disabling and requires the support of a mentor for progress to be made (Price, 2005). My student had no previous health care experience and his confidence appeared low although this was his first student placement. We sat down for the initial assessment together in an empty room for privacy and discussed the placement, his document, our goals and outcomes to be achieved. This is necessary as mentors have a responsibility to identify with students their core competencies and outcomes to be achieved (Royal College of Nursing, 2006). This is backed up by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) highlighting that nurses must facilitate students learning, which I believe was started here by creating goals for the student during the placement to give him some sort of structure on what can be achieved.
I gave him a VAK Learning Styles Assessment Questionnaire (Chislett and Chapman, 2005) to enable me to understand his learning style, so I could continue to facilitate his learning in line with the NMC (2008). My students learning style was visual, for people with this style, when performing a new task they like to first look at the instructions or watch someone else do it first (Chislett and Chapman, 2005). I also asked my student to complete a Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire (2006) as extra confirmation of his learning style (see appendix 2). This highlighted that he was a reflector that learns best when allowed to think before acting, that he may need time to prepare and can reach a decision in his own time without pressure or tight deadlines (Honey and Mumford, 2000). I feel that both questionnaires link as they highlight that my student does not like to jump straight into a task without necessary preparation. My student agreed that this style reflected him.
Before learning could take place, I knew the learning environment had to be right for my student. So I followed the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Learning Pyramid (1970), where physiologically I ensured that my student had sufficient breaks for food and water. Safety wise I made certain that my student had access to the staff room so his belongings were safe and I made sure that the ward environment was safe for my student, all patients and staff members. As for belongingness, I felt I would be able to build up a good relationship with my student. I tried to make my student as comfortable on the ward as possible to help raise his confidence and self esteem. By getting these four levels right in practice, I feel I achieved a safer and healthier environment for my student. I also feel that I added to this by rearranging shifts to enable me to work alongside my student a lot more.
After the second week, my student had improved a lot, although I had noticed his quiet demeanour and low confidence when passing over...