The aim of this assignment is to choose a key aspect of facilitating learning and assessment with a learner, whilst critically evaluating my practice, using professional standards and current theory and literature to illustrate how I have developed as a mentor and educator in practice. For the purpose of this assignment, the key aspect I will be focusing on will be standard 4 – creating an environment for learning, from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) Standards to support learning and assessment in practice: mentors. Throughout this assignment, I will incorporate the principles of Gibb's (1988) reflective cycle to help guide me through this process. I will also be referring to my learning plan throughout, which can be seen in appendix 3.
The role of a mentor has been demonstrated to be pivotal to the student's clinical learning experience (Myell et al., 2008). The Department of Health (2001a: 6), defined a mentor as a qualified or experienced nurse who can effectively facilitate learning within the practice setting, with their role being to guide, support and supervise a mentee through the process of learning and assessment. This statement is supported by the Royal College of Nursing (2007) who illustrate the importance of the practice mentor when, teaching, supervising and assessing students in order to ensure they are purposely fit for practice. The role of a practice mentor consists of a number of responsibilities. However, mentorship judgement and the decision in which the practice mentor makes regarding whether the student is fit for practice rests on the mentor’s accountability (NMC 2008).
The learning and assessment process to which I am now referring took place on a busy emergency assessment unit between me and a second year student nurse undertaking her critical care placement, who for the purpose of this assignment I have named Jenny, a pseudonym to project confidentiality. Through discussion, the examination of the PR2 and the use of SMART, a joint decision was formed that Jenny would learn the skill of carrying out an assessment document in correspondence with practice proficiency 2.3 - 'Undertake and document a comprehensive, systematic and accurate nursing assessment of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients, clients and communities.'
In order to begin the mentorship process, Davison (2005) states that mentors need to plan ahead as good preparation can ease the experience for all parties. Watson (1999) also states that if teaching opportunities for students are to be meaningful and productive, planning is an important part of the mentor’s role. It was during this planning stage that it became evident that one of the major factors effecting Jenny's learning was the environment in which she was to be taught. Downie and Basford (2003) state that facilitating learning in a formal classroom setting is somewhat different to doing so in a workplace learning environment therefore in order to ensure the environment was conducive to learning, a SWOT analysis was undertaken (Appendix 2). Advantages and disadvantages of the practice setting were utilised allowing an understanding of how experiences and the learning environment facilitates professional development (West et al, 2007, p33).
The emergency assessment unit is often seen as a good learning environment for student nurses and as identified in the SWOT analysis it provides many learning opportunities due to the varying conditions of patients and the large diversity of the multi-disciplinary team that are situated within the department. When carrying out Jenny’s initial interview past experiences were discussed along with learning opportunities and areas of interest. This gave me a good idea of skills already possessed and a good indication of how we could plan our time together. It also gave me an insight into what Jenny felt she needed to achieve from the placement and allowed me to plan and support...
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