1.1 Additional roles for nurse mentors
The components identified by Eller et al. (2014) provide a comprehensive insight into the essentials of an effective mentoring relationship and it is likely that you have been able to attribute all of your observed factors to one or more of the components. However, perhaps you have one or two observations that don’t seem to fit very well, or at all. Reading other papers about the nature of mentoring relationships will offer alternative insights and broaden your thinking. Teatheredge (2010), for example, emphasises the importance of reducing student anxiety as a key function of the mentor relationship, whilst Wilson (2014) identifies protecting the student from danger as an integral component.
In Activity 2, you may have identified another key component (Eller et al., 2014) that appears to be missing from the effective mentoring relationship: assessing competence. In many professional spheres this is not typically seen as a function of the mentor role. However, the NMC (2008) specifies ‘assessment and accountability’ as one of the eight domains that nurse and midwife mentors must be competent in, and this specific issue is addressed in Weeks 6 and 7.
If you are studying towards an NMC mentor qualification, you should be allocated a nursing student to support in practice. Now you have finished learning about mentoring relationships, you might work through the following suggestions in the practice setting, in order to provide evidence for your portfolio against the NMC domain:
- Establishing effective working relationships.
At the end of the first five days of your time together, write a reflective summary that explores how you feel you have addressed the eight key components of an effective mentoring relationship, giving examples.
If there are components that you haven’t addressed yet or that you feel haven’t gone particularly well, you can focus on these as the relationship continues.
As your time together nears its end, seek feedback from your student about the achievement of the eight components. What worked well, what could have been approached differently and what would your student have liked more or less of?
Using this feedback, return to your original reflective summary and reconsider the effectiveness of your mentoring relationship. Add any additional examples, thoughts or feelings to your summary to show how your approach to the mentoring relationship has developed or changed.
Identify the one key component that you feel was the least well developed in this relationship and that you will focus on the next time you are supporting a student.