4 Interventions to support learning in practice
As a mentor, you will of course endeavour to ensure that the practice experience is the best it can possibly be for the learner. Successful planning and preparation for learners is essential and can be assured through an educational audit process. This helps to identify where standards help the learner to achieve the required competencies within the practice environment. Various interventions can contribute to these standards and help support learning in practice.
If you are completing this as part of an NMC mentorship preparation programme, there is a requirement that an educational audit is completed at least once every two years (NMC, 2010).
Use the protected learning time allowed to find out who your educational link is from your local university and also the practice learning environment lead within your employing organisation. Discuss with them the individual audit tool that is used and the process of educational audit within your area.
Access your practice area’s current audit and reflect on the above discussion to demonstrate your understanding of this process. This can be included within your portfolio of evidence.
Activity 3 Checklist of interventions
Develop your own checklist of interventions that you might use to support student learning.
The following list gives examples of interventions that you can adopt to support student learning in the practice environment, although this list is not exhaustive.
- Access the most recent placement audit to check recommended action points.
- A robust, up-to-date student induction pack should be available, which includes essential information such as where to access policies and procedures, staff details, IT access, and working patterns.
- Ensure that current, relevant, evidence-based learning resources are available relating to the practice area.
- Liaise with education providers and practice placement link staff to confirm details of the student, their date of arrival and any changes to practice documentation or learning requirements.
- Plan your working pattern to ensure that you, as the mentor, are working to the required professional body standards with your student. Inform relevant staff of the date and time when the student will be commencing placement.
- Ensure a planned, protected time on Day 1 to discuss perceptions, expectations and learning goals, university requirements and schedule for assessments in practice, practice environment learning opportunities, and meeting dates for reviews.
- Get to know your student: what their strengths are, which areas they feel they need further support with and details of any previous experiences. Let the student know you’re interested in them and their learning development. Negotiate and agree ground rules.
- Negotiate a learning plan that is realistic and includes working with members of the multidisciplinary team (with dates and times agreed in advance). This may include attending relevant staff seminars, workshops or conferences that would enhance the learning experience, including following a ‘patient journey’.
- Allow the student to take ownership of their learning and encourage them to suggest alternative opportunities that may be facilitated.
- Act as a role model. Be positive, enthusiastic and facilitative, and ensure that you plan regular one-to-one meetings to reflect and discuss learning that is occurring.
- Challenge constructively to facilitate critical reflection on situations in practice.
- Ensure that the student feels valued and part of the team. For example, ensure that they have someone to go to lunch or a coffee with, involve them in communications with the wider team, encourage their suggestions or opinions, and acknowledge their previous knowledge and skills.
- Remember that all students have individual learning needs. Don’t presume that a final-year student will be confident with their skills or competencies, or that a new student will have no experience. Take time to assess the student’s capabilities in order to facilitate new learning opportunities, and revisit any areas that need further support and guidance.
- Support participation in clinical tasks and competencies in a non-threatening manner, demonstrating encouragement to increase confidence. Give regular, constructive feedback on performance.
- Be open to learn from your student. Gather feedback on your own performance as a mentor and reflect on ways to improve.
- Remember how it felt to be a student!