2 Defining the regulator’s position on mentoring
For the remainder of study this week, you will find it really helpful to have a copy of the NMC’s Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice (2008) to work with. Information and activities will refer you to specific sections of this document as you examine what professional regulation require from nurses who practise as mentors. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you go towhere you can access this PDF document to download and print for your ongoing reference.
The NMC makes clear that nurses taking on the role of mentor are responsible and accountable for the following (in Section 2.1 of Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice):
- organising and coordinating student learning activities in practice
- supervising students in learning situations and providing them with constructive feedback on their achievements
- setting and monitoring achievement of realistic learning objectives
- assessing total performance – including skills, attitudes and behaviours
- providing evidence as required by programme providers of student achievement or lack of achievement
- liaising with others (such as mentors, sign-off mentors, practice facilitators, practice teachers, personal tutors, programme leaders) to provide feedback, identify any concerns about the student’s performance and agree action as appropriate
- providing evidence for, or acting as sign-off mentors with regard to making decisions about achievement of proficiency at the end of a programme. (Please note that this final aspect is for a sign-off mentor only.)
The responsibilities expected by the profession are significant and extend well beyond the ‘critical friend’ concept often seen with mentors in other fields of practice. The NMC expects mentors to fulfil complex roles that include the ability to organise, coordinate, supervise, monitor and assess the learning of others and, in addition, communicate and liaise as needed to ensure that the best support can be offered to all learners. This is a role that requires practitioners to engage in continuing professional development post qualification and demonstrate competence across a range of mentor outcomes prior to supporting learners independently.