Analyze the role of mentor and its learning environment according to NMC standards.
The purpose of this assignment is to assess professional mentor’s learning in practice. It will analyze the role of mentor and its learning environment according to NMC standards. The NMC (National Midwifery Council) standard covers eight domains such as productive work relation, assessment, and accountability, factors facilitating learning, learning evaluation, the creation of an environment for learning, the context of practice, evidence-based practice and leadership style. This essay will particularly discuss domain 3 of NMC standard which means it will address the assessment and accountability of mentor training nurses. It will explain the professional growth of Nurse through the support of mentors and how mentors assess the progress of each nurse.
The contribution of mentors in any profession is vital to the success of the team, and mentors have always existed in the organization to guide new employees or staff. A mentor is an experienced individual in the organization who is assigned to act as an advisor to junior and guide and counsel them. The NMC defines a mentor as a nurse, midwife or community nurse who assesses students learning the process and supervises them in a practical setting (Brand, 2016). Workplace learning is vital for nurses throughout their careers. This may be in the form of mentoring for a newly registered nurse or by undergoing training to develop the skill in the individual specialized area of work. Mentors have a role in nurturing a novice practitioner, and they teach them to practice based skills according to their role in hospitals or health clinic. They provide feedback to professional nurse under them from time to time to identify mistakes and learn from them (Jokelainen et al. 2013).
Mentoring is given under different context. In the context of nursing, a mentor is an experienced registered nurse who is approved for a conducting mentor program and has met all the standards for mentors set up by Nursing and Midwifery Council. Mentors in nursing have the responsibility of organizing practical learning activities, supervising nurse by providing constructive feedback and assessing overall performance. They set realistic objective according to the nursing profession. They determine the competency level of the nurse in the beginning and how they have increased their skill under the supervision of mentors. They also play a role in liaising with others to find what has affected nurse performance and according they set action plans for individual nurse or group of a nurse (Rooke 2014).
There are several challenges to effective mentoring. They have two conflicting roles-both to support nurse as well assess their performance. First of all, it is critical for the nurse to comply with NMC standard. Mentors are hired for a group of nurses who hire them directly or indirectly. Proper mentoring gives the nurse a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. Mentoring is also beneficial for mentors as their own learning is enhanced during the process. Mentorship is also essential for nurses moving into new departments of care such as palliative care or endoscopy nurse (Johnson et al. 2012). It is necessary for developing a team, personal growth, and professional development. Mentors are registered nurse who is already on a busy schedule, and they take their time out for mentorship. Due to time constraint, they may suffer from work pressure. So they need to be very patient and perform their responsibility effectively. They should educate the nurse that patient care must be their ultimate priority. The mentor acts as the assessor of the team. They judge the clinical competency of nurses under them (Huston 2013).
This section is about the assessment strategies adopted by mentors to judge students learning the process. Assessment is a set of process in mentoring that measure the outcome and benefit of students learning regarding professional knowledge acquired. Mentors collect data to monitor that desired standard of professional practice has been reached by a nurse or not. In the context of health care, mentors develop practice-based assessment strategies to check the progress of nurses. NMC has set a new standard for the evaluation of learning in practice. The purpose of assessment is to make sure that nursing staff is competent in their professional practice so that optimal public health is ensured. This will maintain the credibility of the health care profession as well as the health care organization. The level of progress should be such that NMC could relate to demands of medical service and address future needs of health care (Giger, 2016).
There is a different level of strategies for assessment. One is continuous assessment which is measured according to nurse practice placement booklet. It is a systematic series of measurement that measures the performance of individual during their course of placement in a health clinic. It helps mentors to assess different aspects of health care activities such as giving appropriate medication, looking after hygiene of patients, etc (Dobrowolska et al. 2015). Mentors also judge nursing staff by seeing how they complete any task without their supervision. This will have a positive effect on learners. Individuals get an idea about their own competency level, and they develop a sense of responsibility towards their profession. Assessment totally depends on direct observation, but the judgment differs from person to person (Bulman and Schutz 2013).
In the case of my own nursing profession as an endoscopy nurse, I have the responsibility of providing technical support during endoscopy procedure and caring for the patients undergoing endoscopy procedure. So mentors can guide such nurse on the understanding of risk during the process, evaluating nursing care according to individual patients. They can teach them verbally and communication skills and professional conduct. Mentors can assess after a period of training that nurse have ensured a high standard of nursing care while attending endoscopy units (Hauck et al. 2013). They will check how nurse technically assists endoscopy procedure and also maintains the safe working practice. Mentors want to set the excellent standards of nursing care, and they will judge people according to those criteria. An endoscopy nurse needs to learn to work without supervision during endoscopic procedures and should be able to advise in case of any formal or informal complaints by patients. Maintaining hygiene and knowing accurate ways of decontamination endoscope and specialized equipment is also important. A mentor can judge endoscopy nurse on all such criteria to provide a clean therapeutic environment to patients (Steven et al. 2014).
During the assessment process, the major issue that comes up is that different person's judgment level is different. It might be possible that one mentor considers a particular student to have developed adequate competency standards, but the same student is failed by another mentor regarding competency. To minimize this gap in judgment, standardized criteria of assessment is necessary. This will ensure that transparency is maintained during the evaluation procedure. Judgment is also affected by individuals perception and understanding. It can be stressful as very few people are reliable and can give good judgment (Curtis 2013). Therefore reliability and validity is also an issue. Validity refers to what parameter a test will measure and according to which standards. Reliability is related to the consistency of assessment methods which ensures that all assessors are judging staffs by the same criteria. Sometimes strict assessment is also not good. People develop a fear that they might be penalized for any irresponsible act. It leads to unnecessary stress, and people may falter in front of strict mentors. When a relaxing environment is provided, and the situation is less threatening, it enables positive assessment. But despite several barriers, it is seen that mentors are generally enthusiastic to work with students, and they have a positive relationship with each staff. This helps in quick team development when members work together towards developing professional competency. It is also important for mentors to know the skill of each member. This will help in better accountability which is an integral part of the nursing profession (Lach et al. 2013).
It is the responsibility that is entrusted to each nurse for serving the patient and community that provides them with professional accountability. The NMC standards have set certain rules of conduct and ethics for nurses. Apart from specific professional responsibility, nurses also have personal liberty to include or omit any portions in nursing practice. A Little bit of flexibility in work is allowed, but the nurse must know to justify their action when they are enquired about it. So mentors should teach nurse how they should respond when any emergency situation arises, and they have to take immediate actions. In such case, critical analysis skill will be substantial. Once they know how to analyze the situation, they can decide which immediate steps will be good for the care of patients. If a nurse staff has to delegate work to someone who is not registered with NMC, then also they are accountable to see that person is competent enough to perform that duty. The right level of supervision and support is necessary in such case (Eller et al. 2014).
Mentoring is also a skill which very few people can acquire. If people do not know how to assess their staff, then they fail in their role as a mentor. They not only just check whether their team is acting to professional standards or not. They also need to identify what factors are there which act as barriers to people’s professional development. They can spend time with individual staff to enquire about their weakness or something that is difficult for them in their professional work (Duffy 2014). They should develop empathy with the employee and give adequate support to them so that even a failed student recovers from his initial state and progressed to become a high quality standard professional. They need to identify underperforming staff and manage those situations. They should be given opportunities to improve by involving them in activities which they feel is hard for them. With initial supervision and increases practice, they will develop their clinical skills. Mentors can guide nurse regarding ways to improve their abilities, and they can set a time frame within which they want them to acquire new skills or enhance their existing skills (Bennett and McGowan 2014).
From the information on the mentoring role, it can be concluded that mentoring is a complex process. While the assessment process is essential for the nursing profession, it relies mainly on practical observation. Some recommendation regarding mentoring is that mentors need to give feedback regularly to a student like where they have improved or which part of their duty they are performing well. They may also give negative reviews like which part of the nursing practice was not up to the standard or whether they have breached any ethical code and conduct of the nursing profession. Mentors should ensure that each nursing staff follow their plan of action properly and review the progress of staffs by regular meeting and discussion. If all the approach to improve learner skill fails, then they should consult others for guidance and nest step of action. The NMC standard also emphasized the role of mentors in managing weak learners.
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