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1: Explore appropriate learning, teaching and assessment strategies that could be employed to promote and facilitate learning in practice for a range of learners, in order to maximise their individual potential

2: Evaluate best available evidence and practice in supporting and assessing learning in practice

3: Apply knowledge and skills in relation to change management to ensure that the learning environment is supportive and effective for learners

4: Critically reflect on the processes involved in supporting and managing a learner who is failing to meet required standards and outcomes.

The Underachieving Student

Mentoring a second year student who has been underachieving requires the mentor to develop learning strategies, teaching and assessment approaches for the mentee. For this to be a success, the mentor needs to work with the student through commitment, participation and different learning styles. This essay explores a situation where a student has to pursue a 5-week placement after underachieving. It discusses the importance of mentorship in learning, teaching and assessment approaches that encourage core competencies for the profession. It is important that the mentor remind the learner that becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) requires core competencies, which a student must acquire. The essay demonstrates why the learner needs proficiency in Management Care, Leadership and Nursing Management, Ethical Practice and Professional Development among other competencies. These are professional development guides provided by the Singapore Nursing Board. They determine the minimum entry into the practice level. These also provide a foundation for further career development to an advanced level. The mentor needs to assess the mentee’s development in knowledge, skill and attitude. Asking about generic skills brings to light a student’s nursing skills such as performance admission, physical health assessment and BMI calculations. Mentorship is important because it highlights the appropriate steps to becoming a nurse, supervisor, assistant or other level in nursing practice. The preparation process looks at the academic as well as professional skills acquired. Clinical practice requirements for nursing and midwifery have core competencies that prospecting candidates must develop. The mentor must emphasize the need for the student to have insight in the profession.

The student needs to self-assess on the ability to observe institutional guidelines, professional conduct, procedural guidelines, management of nursing care processes, and leadership (Kong, 2012). Often an underperformer lacks basic skills in nursing such as clinical interpretation, monitoring the patients and nursing care. The underachieving student needs to listen to the mentor’s plan and give constructive feedback on some of the challenges encountered in the professional development cycle (Morag, 2014, p. 108). The first step is to assess the mentee’s proficient abilities and competencies for standardized procedures. The assessments provide evidence to the student’s attempt to garner entry points through personal and professional competencies.  

Mentorship is different from practice because it provides leadership to professionals (Fowler, 2012). Supervisors in a learning environment understand stakes in nursing care. The mentor needs to approach learning with an open mind by addressing both challenges and opportunities in the career development process. Mentorship unfolds the complexities of the learning process through practical application of the knowledge learnt. Through its functions, the mentee develops competent skills and they gain the necessary supervision required for professional development. This is an opportunity for growth and development in career as well as learning. In nursing, mentorship identifies opportunities and challenges so that the learner can reflect on points and document their progress. It promotes quality professionalism by highlighting and supporting quality standards. This is a continuous form of assessment for formal, informal, practice and academic advancement.  

The Role of Mentorship

Achieving students have a plan and clear goals. They emerge as successful because they have the right information concerning the career choice. Mentors should use evidence-based data to guide students towards designing the right objectives. For instance, the nursing profession has a variety of career options for the learner. There are legally qualified nurse consultants, nurse practitioners, midwives, anesthetists, nurse educators and nursing care managers among others (nursejournal.org, 2017).  From research, specialized nurses such as anesthetists and dialysis nurses earn more and need up to 2 years working experience in nephrology and dialysis. Being legally certified nurse calls for legal registration. Midwives who only require professional training also have a high earning but in some cases, an advanced degree is required. Mentees who have mentorship support are able to make the right choice in the midst of a variety.

The underachieving student lacks important skills in nursing care theory and practical applications. This happens due to lack of the necessary career guidance. Mentorship identifies specific gaps for the necessary support. This means that a nurse who is unable to evaluate nutritional needs of patients tends to make mistakes on the job, during training and in professional work. A misinformed student does not know how to get to a leadership level in the clinical nursing profession. Students who need to specialize in specific medical fields also need guidance towards the right practice (Bandura, 2012). Mentorship covers the professional and personal abilities that the mentee must acquire in order to succeed.  A mentor understands that students who fail do not have basic information about the work experience, application of skills and employment opportunities.

The role of mentorship in clinical practice revolves around its basic principles. It facilitates for educational development, practical work experience and job placement functions. The learning process is simply translating theory into practice so the student needs to attend practice lessons and placements as much as theory classes (Butterworth & Fuaugier, 2013). This includes registration with the Nursing professional groups. Mentors come in handy during the pre-registration to help students acquire practical skills for the practice. A good plan contributes to the development of the mentee’s knowledge and skills for competent professionals. Mentorship boosts the learner’s confidence and it simplifies the process. This is a chance for the leader to model the learner effectively.

The mentorship plan must ensure that there is a unique relationship between the mentorship supervisor and the supervised. The interactive process includes the assessment and evaluation of the student through a feedback process (Dosey, et al., 2012). This should include positive and negative feedback in order to help the student to improve on weaknesses. Encouraging the student to reflect on the experiences is one way to connect the practical experience with the academic performance. In order to maintain quality, the mentor and supervisor should be aware of their roles. Paying attention to challenges in this relationship averts further challenges (Morag, 2014). As a teacher, the mentor guides on the application of theory while encouraging the mentee to widen the scope of knowledge through an analysis of practical case application. Management care is one of the most challenging chapters of the program and the mentor needs to ensure that its assessment is adequate.

Learning Styles, Application to Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Learning styles for mentorship vary from teaching, assessment of the theoretical applications and supervision of the practical exercises. Modern contemporary teaching styles include the use of case examples of successful professionals. The mentor could also use instructional videos for poor performing learners who need motivation. Coaching by using a personal model is also effective for both good and low performances. Unlike lecturing, mentorship may take a practical approach enabling the student to discover their strengths and weaknesses. An integrated approach to learning may also apply if the mentor plans to facilitate the process.  Instructional leadership or pedagogy is used with other learning styles because the trainee needs to match theory with practice. An interactive learning process allows for self-assessment as well as the classroom assessments (Anderson, 2014).

Mentorship for adults in nursing involves the integration of theory about clinical care with its practice. It also covers personal competencies such as communication skills, teamwork and service skills. Andragogy in mentorship practice advocates for a relationship between the learner and the teacher (Henschke, 2011). Qualified nursing trainees are adults who need guidance on skills such as client health care and problem solving in the nursing sector. These responsible learners can undertake peer evaluations independently. Mentorship plans should allow the students to carry out self-assessments and present written portfolio. Pedagogy is instructional-based learning and is ideal for lessons such as management of needle stick and splash injury. A combination of these approaches helps the mentor to determine how knowledge and application of learning theories is effective in enhancing student learning.

The application of cognitive and behavioral theories in practical skills are necessary for mentoring because of the listening skills, critical thinking, observation and practice (Morag, 2014). Learners need guidance on the requirements within the national institutional framework for effective placements. The core competencies dictate that the mentor should advise on how nurses should operate with respect client’s rights, cultural diversity and self-care approaches. If the trainee fails in prior placement, the mentor needs to find out what happened during the induction process, interview and progress reports. A mentor needs to pay keen attention to critical segments of learning such as the client’s health assessment and reassessment, which are important in nursing (Miller & Rollnick, 2012). The placement checklist is a significant tool for effective establishment of roles, creating a timetable, and supervising the student.

Learning from a clinical environment has a positive effect on the professional development for the mentor and learner (Ebel, 2017). The learning atmosphere has a placement team in the mentorship program. The staff members in the clinic or health unit include specialists who have years of experience in clinical practice. The surrounding is important in level training and constructive feedback. This includes giving constructive feedback coupled with praise and criticism (Fleming, et al., 2012). Personalized learning needs benefit the trainees, mentors and leaders in the industry. An example of a SWOT analysis below shows.

Figure 1: SWOT Analysis as a potential mentor

The strengths show some of the competencies such as critical thinking which can translate to the mentee. The openness allows the supervisor to share with the learner in openness. On the other hand, weaknesses pose a challenge to a healthy working environment between the trainee and the mentor. As a mentor, there are numerous opportunities for mentorship programs within the public and private health sectors (McMurray, et al., 2012). These include long term and short-term opportunities to engage with the trainees. Personality and skill differences become a threat to a successful relationship but effective management reduces the impending challenges.

Accurate record keeping is important for an organized mentorship plan (Morag, 2014, p. 139). It prevents mismatching and creating unrealistic expectations. It also saves time for the mentor and the mentee through practical solutions. The SMART approach ensures that the mentor sets achievable goals in the process.

  1. a) Assessment to promote learning in practice

The use of an action plan to demonstrate accurate record keeping shows a comprehensive mentorship plan that captures.

Figure 2: Five-Week Action Plan for Mentorship Placement

Self-awareness and emotional intelligence in mentoring has advantages and disadvantages. It helps to manage stress and burn out. Having an understanding of the learning abilities helps the mentor to develop a plan that is suitable for the parties involved. Some people learn better through audio visuals while others have a good memory for literature. Personal competencies like critical thinking, organizational skills and problem abilities complement the professional training (Johnson, et al., 2012). Part of the competencies required for a successful professional nursing career is in communication, teamwork and service abilities. These come about because of individual efforts and skills.

Inadequately performing students should take advantage of the orientation or induction process because it gives the student exposure to the clinical environment. This allows the student to familiarize with the new colleagues, working environment and processes. It is also an opportunity for the mentor to boost the learner’s confidence too. The new environment provides learning opportunities and resources for a professional in the making. Therefore, the mentor’s assessment of the practice area needs to maximize on the student’s learning abilities without neglecting the personal skills. One way to have an effective learning process is to incorporate technology in instructional learning (Potter & Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2012). A good mentoring environment combines the educational and practice elements for a holistic approach.

The student interacts with the institutional structures, other learners and different learning platforms. Passive and active learning is beneficial in any mentorship program. Studies about clinical decisions and nursing care are theoretical but active participation in problems within the health care system require a different approach that involves the learner. The physical environment facilitates for the career development process. The development of pragmatic solutions for the nursing mentoring plan will thrive in an environment that encourages feedback (Grossman, 2012). Of importance is the ability of the mentor to maintain trust, exploit the benefits of the environment and maintain appropriate contact with the student. In order to avoid the bias and misunderstanding that could occur about the student and the environment, a mentor needs to use observation. An assessment of the clinical environment, the patients, and staff is important because it provides a background analysis for a multidisciplinary perspective.  

The inexperienced learner gets an opportunity to draw conclusions from older professionals who have the exposure. This is a time for the learner to ask questions, network and participate in the practice. In mentoring, mistakes are acceptable because the mentee is still unqualified (Morrell & Victoria, 2014). This might not be the case for a registered nurse who has no choice but to exhibit competence. Mentorship within a professional environment is about the development of relationships on a wider context.  Both the mentor and trainee have access to the support systems in the health unit. This includes the structures and human interconnections. This adds value to the learning process and professional development because the mentee gets exposure to the real situations. The ‘hands on experience’ provides a practical learning environment for the mentee. This is critical in the development of competencies although it can either support or obstruct learning.

Despite numerous players in the working and learning environment, the mentor needs to focus on the two-way feedback between the student and the mentor. The supervisor may decide to assess the learner’s performance by interviewing others in the team. The analysis of interpersonal competencies depend on practical solutions rather than the theoretical approaches (Falchikov, 2013). The assessment of proficiency captures an integration of personal, interpersonal and professional skills. A combination of effective communication skills highlights language competencies and people skills. Global trends of clinical professionals migrating to foreign countries for work assignments place high significance on this factor.

Good leaders are good listeners and they can handle conflicts well (Morag, 2014). Mentorship as a performance strategy in the nursing industry applies scientific knowledge in an environment that affect human health. The sector leaves no room for mistakes because it is highly competent. The process of providing timely assessment is a challenge because all assessments are part of the process. This includes the formative and final or summative assessments.

Conclusion

Like other professions, the nursing sector is changing. Global trends in organizations influence skill development processes across all industries. Leadership, strategic management practices and ethical matters have become important. Competent nurses have professionally accredited certification that allows them to practice. Every country has its national registration body. The Singapore Nursing Board supports the clinical learning environment (Morag, 2014, p. 123). Mentorship maintains the professional standards in the learning environment and it helps students to improve through knowledge sharing (Bosley, 2012). The mentor needs practical skills for mentoring in the mentoring lifecycle. This starts with commitment to the process, participation, interaction, learning and assessments. For example, providing mentorship to specialist nurses in specific nursing practices requires experience. Students feel confident learning from someone who knows what is expected. An approachable attitude makes the learner willing to ask questions. This does not negate the possibilities of a negative experience, which could arise due to various reasons. Preparing for both positive and negative encounters is necessary because ignoring them could lead to a dysfunctional relationship between the learner and the mentor.  

The Singapore Nursing Board highlights legal procedures for nurse’s new enrolments, renewal certificates and advanced practice (Government, 2016). This shows commitment by the Singapore government to maintain quality across all levels of professional development. From the website, the government forbids practicing without a certificate. This puts pressure on learning centers to prepare competent nurses and midwives. The restrictions are rigid for practitioners with less than five years working experience. The mentor need to encourage the mentee to gain the necessary competencies in order for a student to penetrate into the sector. Proper certification calls for a rigorous preparation process that shapes the professional and personal skills. In order to tackle future challenges in mentoring within the cross-cultural clinical sector, global elements must come into play.

References

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Anderson, J., 2014. The benefit of interactice learning. Harvard Graduate School ( GSE).

Bandura, A., 2012. On the functional propoerties of percieved self-effficacy revisited. s.l.:s.n.

Bean, C., 2011. Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking and active learning in the classroom. s.l.:John Wiley & Sons.

Bosley, C., 2012. What makes a good nursing mentor?. Oncology Nursing, 1 January.

Butterworth, T. & Fuaugier, J., 2013. Clinical supervision and mentorship in nursing. s.l.:Springer.

Caprino, K., 2016. The top 5 regrets of mid-career professionals. Forbes, 16 October.

Dosey, B., Certificate, C., Keegan, L. & Association, C.-D. I. N. C., 2012. Holistic nursing. s.l.:Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Ebel, A., 2017. Working as a licensed practical nurse ( LPN). Practical Nursing.

Falchikov, N., 2013. Improving assessment through student involvement: Practical solutions for aiding learning in higher and further education. s.l.:Routledge.

Fleming, M., Silet, K. & Anderson, L., 2012. Evaluating and giving feedback to mentors: new evideence-based approaches. Clinical and Translational Science, February, 5(1), pp. 71-77.

Fowler, J., 2012. Teaching and learning: from staff nurse to nurse consultant. Part 8: Mentoring students. British Journal of Nursing, 21(18), p. 1108.

Government, S., 2016. Singapore Nursing Board. [Online]

Available at: https://www.healthprofessionals.gov.sg/content/hprof/snb/en.html

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Henschke, J. A., 2011. Consideration regarding the future of andragogy. Adult Learning, 22(1), pp. 34-37.

Johnson, M., Cowin, L., Wilson, I. & Young, H., 2012. Professional identity theorety and nursing: Contemporary theoretical development and future research challenges. International nursing review, 59(4), pp. 562-569.

Kong, N. C. o. H., 2012. Core-Competencies for Registered Nurses ( General), s.l.: Nursing Council of Hong Kong.

McMurray, A. et al., 2012. Leadership succession management in a university health faculty. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 34(4), pp. 365-376.

Miller, W. R. & Rollnick, S., 2012. Motivational interviewing: Helping people change. s.l.:Guilford.

Morag, G., 2014. Managing the end of your student's journey: Effective and efficient review and evaluation of your mentoring relonshipat. In: Practical skills for mentoring in healthcare: a guide for busy practicioners. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 105-134.

Morag, G., 2014. Practical skills for mentoring in healthcare: A guide for busy practictioners. In: When things go wrong. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 135-142.

Morag, G. A., 2014. Managing the end of your student's journey: effective and efficient review and evaluation of your mentorship. In: Practical skills for mentoring in healthcare: A guide for busy practicioners. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 105-134.

Morrell, N. & Victoria, R., 2014. Are we preparing student nurses for practice placement?. British Journal of nursing.

nursejournal.org, 2017. 31 best specialty career choices for nurses. Nurse Journal.

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Potter, S. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A., 2012. Technology integration for instrcutional improvement. The impact of professional development. Perfomance Improvement, 51(2), pp. 22-27.

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