Week 1: Getting started – your mentorship development
Welcome to Week 1 of this free course, Facilitating learning in practice. This week you will start to examine the key themes of mentoring. A great deal of a nurse’s time is spent supporting, guiding and assessing others. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the professional regulator for nursing and midwifery, made explicit in The Code: Professional Standards of Practice and Behaviour for Nurses and Midwives (NMC, 2015, pp. 8–15) that there is an onus on practitioners acting as mentors to:
- share your skills, knowledge and experience for the benefit of people receiving care and your colleagues by providing honest, accurate and constructive feedback to colleagues, and to support students’ and colleagues’ learning to help them develop their professional competence and confidence
- be accountable for decisions to delegate tasks and duties to other people by ensuring that only tasks and duties are delegated that are within the other person’s scope of competence
- uphold the reputation of the profession (nursing and midwifery) at all times by acting as a role model of professional behaviour for students and newly qualified nurses and midwives to aspire to.
Whether driven by professional codes or being aware of how you can use your experience to benefit others, mentorship is something that you cannot avoid. You may be studying this OpenLearn course alongside the Open University course KG006 Facilitating learning in practice: mentorship portfolio assessment, with the intention of using the activities you complete as part of your study as evidence towards increased knowledge and skill development to apply for entry onto a local mentor register. Once on such a register, you will then be able to independently support and assess pre-registration nursing students. This course was written with such learners in mind, with many examples being very nursing-focused. However, mentorship has global interest, so you might also be interested in this if you are acting in a mentor role already and are seeking to update your skills, or you might have a very genuine interest to know what learning is needed before nurses step into mentorship roles. If you fit either of these two categories, please use the learning as you consider appropriate.
Watch this video that Fiona Dobson, one of the course authors, has recorded as an introduction to this week’s study:
Welcome to Week 1 of the Facilitating learning in practice course. This week you’ll have the opportunity to focus on two key themes that you’ll be able to revisit on numerous occasions across the duration of the course.
You’ll start by gaining a general understanding of mentorship, what it is and what it involves. And then you’ll move on to explore how to be an effective mentor and what the impact might be of toxic mentoring on learners.
Given that you’re studying this course you may already be a nurse and familiar with the standards of mentorship set down by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the professional regulator for nurses and midwives.
This course will give you the opportunity to explore these standards in more detail.
If you’re studying the course as part of formal mentorship preparation then do look out for the mentorship programme boxes distributed throughout the course materials that will give you more information about formal mentorship preparation.
Alternatively you might already be a nurse mentor and have chosen to study this course as part of your continuing professional development in order to update your knowledge and skills. Or you might be someone who’s got a genuine interest in finding out more about the learning that needs to take place before somebody can become a nurse mentor.
At the end of your learning this week you’ll find the first of the quizzes which you can take in order to practice for the quizzes that follow in Weeks 4 and 8 which contribute to the badge of achievement for this course.
So onward with your studies and we hope you enjoy learning about mentorship.
The NMC currently use a set of Standards to define mentorship, identify their reach of practice and determine the competencies that mentors working in nursing need to attain. This is an important document for any nurse and we recommend that you go to, where you can access a PDF document to download and print for your ongoing reference.
Throughout this course you will find mentorship programme boxes like the one below. These have been designed for inclusion specifically for learners who are accessing and studying this course as part of The Open University’s NMC mentorship preparation programme, KG006 Facilitating learning in practice: mentorship portfolio assessment. If you are studying KG006, the following box indicates how this week’s content links to the NMC standards to support learning and assessment in practice (2008). If you are not studying KG006 you do not need to read the box; however, you will still find it useful to download the PDF.
If you are completing this course as part of an NMC mentorship preparation programme, the materials and activities in this week’s study relate to all NMC domains, i.e.:
- Establishing effective working relationships
- Facilitation of learning
- Assessment and accountability
- Evaluation of learning
- Creating an environment for learning
- Context of practice
- Evidence-based practice
As you heard in the video, this week’s study will examine broadly the concept of mentorship and particularly consider how this is described by the NMC.
After this week, you should be able to:
- reflect on the mentor’s role and consider how a mentor can aid or hinder learning and support in practice
- consider your experience of mentorship and critically analyse what you can bring to the role
- start to develop build an action plan around strategies you will develop or adopt to help you become an effective mentor.
Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations of the course. Your input will help to further improve the online learning experience. If you’d like to help, and if you haven't done so already, please fill in this optional survey.