SUPPORTING LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT IN PRACTICE
The aim of this assignment is to reflect upon my experiences as a mentor in relation to a student’s introduction to the clinical placement, focusing on the establishment of a learning environment. In addition, the author intends to examine the learning theories behind the teaching of the practical skill of carrying out a manual blood pressure. The author’s performance as a mentor is assessed by whether the standards of practice out lined by the NMC, (2006) have been met. Literature suggests the concept of mentorship originated from Homer’s Odyssey, in which, a wise and trusted friend of Odysseus took on the role of rearing and nurturing of his son in his absence (Bracken & Davis, 1989). From the nursing point of view the role of the mentor within a practice placement is to support the students learning and the assessment process (Wilkes, 2006). The NMC (2006) believes that it is role of the mentor to establish an effective working relationship based on mutual trust and respect. The relationship is complicated, it is essential that an effective connection is established where the mentor offers support but can also be objective and analytical (Wilkes, 2006). An essential factor in the creation of a bond between the mentor and student is the introduction of the student to the clinical placement and mentor at the earliest possible stage (Stuart, 2003). Therefore, when the ward sister informed me that I was to take on the role of a mentor to a third year student I discussed the allocation of specific time to complete the student’s orientation during their first day. On reflection I found that meeting at an early stage helped us to build a successful relationship which was then built upon. In addition I was also aware that as a mentor I would be acting as a role model providing the student with the opportunity to observe, practice, and develop their skills and problems-solving ability (Twentyman, 2006). Furthermore, I was conscious of what I had expected from my mentor as a role model and on reflection I endeavoured to meet those expectations. Papp, (2003) believes that a ‘good’ mentor from a students’ perspective is friendly and patient with a good since of humour and has a positive attitude providing individual support. Therefore indicating that the qualities required by the student are based in emotion and there is a need for the student-mentor relationship to be nurturing. A bad role model is defined by students as a nurse who sees patients as a burden, is quick to criticise and has an abrupt or ‘superior’ manner (Morton-Cooper and Palmer, 2000). However, I was conscious that if I was to over protect my student, it could lead to the development of a dysfunctional relationship in which I suppressed the student learning, creating dependency on the mentor, resulting in an attenuated version of themselves. This is known as ‘toxic mentoring’ (Morton-Cooper and Palmer, 2000). Nevertheless, the author believes that the formation of a good student-mentor relationship in which student sees the mentor as a good role model is the key to a successful learning experience and environment. It is the responsibility of the practice staff to create and develop an environment conducive to learning (Price, 2004). The educational environment within the clinical setting is a constantly changing situation and it the responsibility of the mentor to ensure ongoing constructive support which facilitates transition from one learning environment to another (NMC, 2006). Price, (2004) encourages mentors to conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis to evaluate the learning environment. This process should not be a one off, but an evolving process. Quinn and Hughes (2007) believe that is easier and more accurate if the analysis is carried out in partnership. Therefore I used it as a planning tool; in the initial interview enabling input from both parties. This...
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