Facilitating learning in practice
Facilitating learning in practice

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Facilitating learning in practice

4 Maintaining contemporary practice

As registered nurse, you are required to maintain a level of competence to maintain your registration with the NMC. This includes updating and recording your knowledge and skills as required by NMC revalidation processes. ‘It will help to encourage a culture of sharing, reflection and improvement and will be an ongoing process throughout your career’ (NMC, 2016).

As a mentor, this also includes maintaining your knowledge, skills and competence to be included on the register of mentors for your local placement provider. As discussed in Week 4, when you are included on the mentor register you will be reviewed every three years (triennial review) to ensure you continue to meet mentor requirements. As part of this triennial review, you will need to participate in annual updating that will give you an opportunity to discuss issues and share good practice with other mentor colleagues (NMC, 2008).

Lawson (2011) stresses the importance of mentors maintaining a specific CPD portfolio of evidence continually throughout their mentorship role. The following activity asks you to consider how you might plan for this.

Mentorship programme

If you are completing these materials as part of an NMC mentor preparation programme, you will be collecting evidence to meet the required eight domains associated with the mentor role. However, you need to consider how you will remain a competent mentor once registered. This includes access to disability and equality training as advised by the NMC (2008).

Activity 5 Planning for CPD

Allow 30 minutes
  • Download a copy of Figure 4 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   and complete the SLOT analysis to identify the strengths, limitations, opportunities and threats within your mentor role.
Described image
Figure 4 SLOT analysis
  • What strategies can you employ to address the limitations, threats and opportunities that you have identified? Complete an action plan of your areas for development as a starting point. This can be revisited and reviewed as necessary, although should be updated at least annually. Table 1 shows an example of an action plan that you could adapt to your own learning and development needs.

Table 1 Example of an action plan to record your development activities

Area for development Goal Actions required Review date
New assessment documentation being implemented for next pre-registration student cohort To be confident in my assessment of students by having a good knowledge and understanding of the required assessment documentation

1. Meet with link tutor and educational lead to discuss requirements

2. Submit as an agenda item for the next team/mentor meeting

4 weeks



2 weeks

3. Arrange for peer review following implementation


3 months

Unsure of responsibilities when mentoring students with disabilities

To have knowledge and understanding of current guidance relating to my responsibility as a mentor to enable learning for students with disabilities

1. Read guidelines and discuss implications and implementation with colleagues, education link tutor and manager

2 weeks

To be aware of resources available for students

2. Access organisation training in diversity and disability

3. Disseminate information to mentor colleagues

Place booked 1 month

Following training (6 weeks)

Leadership skills To demonstrate additional leadership skills within my mentor role (I have been asked to set up a mentor forum for my area)

1. Access next leadership workshop

2. Meet with a colleague to discuss their experience of setting up a mentor forum

2 months

1 month

3. Meet with line manager to secure a leadership mentor


2 weeks

Share experiences and learn from other mentors To improve my networks of mentor contacts

1. Attend next local mentor forum

2. Ask education lead about the possibility of a buddying system for new mentors

1 month

2 weeks

3. Explore internet forums for regional and national mentor forums

2 months


Consider keeping an ongoing action/personal development plan, as completion of this will help to demonstrate achievement of the required mentorship standards. The action plan in Table 1 can be adapted to meet your own personal learning needs for CPD.

As part of your development as a mentor, you might also consider your position as a role model for others. Turnbull et al. (2014) acknowledged that not everyone wants to be a mentor, but that all nurse registrants have a responsibility to engage in learning in practice. As a mentor you can help to foster a culture of evidence-based supportive learning within your area of practice and encourage colleagues to help plan and deliver learning opportunities for students. Alongside this you will act as an enabler, innovator and exemplar of professional standards, and hopefully you will inspire others to become mentors. As previously discussed, it is important to share good practice, so you may want to think about this within your areas for development and is discussed further within the following section.

Watch the following video in which mentors describe how their practice relates to the NMC Mentor (Stage 2) domains.

Download this video clip.Video player: kg005_week8_640.mp4
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Amy Johnson:
For me, establishing effective working relationships is about everything I do with a student and the way that I work with a student. I think it’s really important that when the student first comes to the ward we’re there for them. They can meet us. That we’re welcoming, we’re friendly but at the same time we need to be professional. The student always has to remember that actually we’re here to be their mentor. We’re not here to be their friend.
Another thing I find that really helps is when you introduce the student to everybody who is going to be on the ward. Let them know what everybody does so then the student can focus on their own learning needs rather than trying to figure out who’s who. That’s really important.
Anne Pill:
Facilitation of learning means understanding what the students’ learning needs are and explaining to them how we can achieve the competencies. Understanding at what point they are in the course and enabling them to understand the unit that we work on and how they will fit in to it. And whether their learning needs will be met.
Amy Johnson:
To me, assessment accountability that’s at the heart of being a good mentor. It’s really important that we act as role models for our students and I try and let the students see that I’m accountable for everything I do in the care that I deliver to my patients. That way they then realise that they’ve also got their own accountability and just how vital it is in the job that we do.
Again I like to make sure that I can justify my decisions. I’m saying that a nurse is competent and that a nurse is safe to do those tasks. And I have to be accountable for that. That’s also really important if I’m that nurse’s sign off mentor. I need to be happy that I can justify the decisions I’ve made.
Anne Pill:
Evaluation of learning means that I sit down with the student and we make a clear action plan and to how different competencies are going to be met. Some of them might be met clinically, some of them might be met with the student reflecting, or writing reflections or discussing her reflections with me.
We make fairly clear goals and then we make times when we’re going to meet to actually discuss those, whether they’ve been achieved or whether they haven’t been achieved.
Amy Johnson:
When I’m looking at creating an effective learning environment I find it really helpful if I actually match what the student needs to achieve to what’s available to us where we are on the ward. I think that helps us guide the student where they need to be.
If they have a task they really want to fulfil I do go and speak to my colleagues who will see if there’s somewhere else they can go in order to achieve that. What is also really vital is that a student doesn’t try to run before they can walk. They need to achieve what they need to achieve at a high level before they move on. And at that time they need to look at where they are in their training.
Anne Pill:
So a context of practice to me working with the students means that I try to enable the student to see practice from a patient centred way. Working through in to professional, inter professionally working with the speech therapist and the occupational therapist, physio, understanding their roles and how they fit in to the patient journey.
Amy Johnson:
Evidence based practice underpins everything we do everyday as nurses. It’s vital that we keep up-to-date. We’re in an ever changing world. There’s new treatments arriving. There’s new drug therapies arriving. And in order to deliver the best care to our patients we need to know what these are.
What I do find helpful is often if you have a particular interest in an area a colleague will know that. They’ll inform you if there’s something new developing. I always encourage my students as well to learn our policies and procedures, discuss them with me because they often learn at university the most relevant practice. And I like to compare the two.
Anne Pill:
And leadership when I’m working with students means understanding where they are at the point in their course and what skills, competencies they need to develop themselves. It also means talking to them about self awareness and understanding the things that they’re good at but also the things that they’re not so good at and the things they want to develop.
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