Introducing the Mentorship Role
According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), a mentor is a registrant who upon efficacious completion of a ratified preparative program is equipped with the requisite knowledge, skills as well as competencies to meet certain outcomes (Nursing and Midwifery Council 2008). Mentors are very significant, especially in the field of education, health and social care training. The availability of mentors in the aforementioned institutes is of great aid to pre-registration of nursing. Here, mentors are majorly essential to the NMC Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice (SLAIP), according to which they are responsible and accountable for the general organisation as well as co-coordination of student learning in practice and supervision of students in learning situations together with the provision of constructive feedback on their achievements. Besides, mentors are highly relied on when establishing and monitoring achievement of realistic learning objectives apart from their usual role of assessing general performance, including skills, attitudes and behaviours of the trainees. Professional mentors also provide evidence as required by program facilitators on student accomplishment or lack of achievement. This is done through liaison with other sign-off mentors and practice teachers with link lecturers specifically to give feedback, identify available concerns about the performance of students and agree actions as apposite. Finally, mentors provide evidence to all the sign-off mentors with respect to choices concerning the achievement of aptitudes at the end of the program.
In order to develop mentorship programs according to the NMC provisions, it is very crucial to focus on the completion of the triennial review process (Nursing and Midwifery Council 2008). This is a collection of evidence over a certain period to prove one’s development as a mentor as well as get an opportunity to meet the standards of NMC SLAIP. This will provide the designate mentor with an ideal opportunity to monitor his or her progress in order to assess the triennial review at one’s annual PDR Appraisal (Nursing and Midwifery Council 2008). The triennial review resembles a guide to any potential mentor since it provides the underlying guiding principles in mentoring as well as the requisite steps or procedures that a mentor and a mentee should conform to in order to engender the credible outcomes (Wilkes, Joyce & Edmond 2011). The triennial review also gives the mentor a clear way for determining the relevant topics, number of sessions as well as the evaluation procedure to be followed to make mentorship fruitful.
In order to develop a dependable triennial review document, factor in the eight NMC (2008) domains as well as the outcomes are required for all mentors. Careful reading of all the eight domains helps the mentor consider the practices that meet the domains as well as outcomes to demonstrate his or her ongoing competencies and achievement. The evidence used should be accompanied with a reflection that explains how the review meets the domains and the outcomes. The guidance document also includes certain reflexive tools, which one may utilise as evidence for any of the domains within the triennial review.
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Application of the NMC Standards
The NMC standards of mentorship regard ‘raising concerns’. These are the standards of mentorship principles which provide guidance for nurses and midwives on the need to raise concerns about all their mandatory roles that they play in their fields of specialisation. The ‘raising concerns’ concept incorporates broad principles that enable mentors and mentees thorough a thought process about the issues by means of taking appropriate actions in the public interest. The standards published in 2013 and later updated to reflect the new code in 2015 include details regarding legislation which protects whistleblowers. Apart from that, it contains the relevant information on organisations that mentors and mentees may resort to for further advice. The ‘raising concerns’ guidance is supported by Helene Donnelly, an ambassador for cultural change at Staffordshire, in conjunction with Stoke-On-Trent Partnership NHS Trust.
The complete application of the NMC standards entails absolute coverage of eight domains, which mentors should adopt as part of their mentorship practice. These include establishing effective work relationships; facilitating learning programs, assessment and accountability; evaluating learning, creation of a conducive environment for learning, context of practice, evidence-based practice and finally leadership. For proper comprehension and acknowledgement of standards of mentorship, it is necessary to expound on the first two domains.
Establishing Effective Working Relationships
This domain emphasises the need for the mentor to demonstrate skills of operative relationship building that are sufficient to support learning. This will be regarded as part of the wider inter-professional team, meant to be utilised by a range of students on practice and in academic learning environments as well (Jervis & Tilki 2011). The mentor is required to exhibit utmost comprehension of factors, which will influence how nurses and midwives integrate into practice settings. Besides, Royal College of Nursing (2008) insists that mentors should also provide ongoing constructive support that is sufficient in facilitating transition from a specific environment of learning to another. Finally, they are supposed to possess effective professional and inter-professional work relationships as a prerequisite for supporting learning upon the entry to register. In order to evidence this particular domain, mentors should exhaustively discuss the manner of welcoming students to their practice setting. Consequently, the same mentors are to support mentees in developing and fostering good work relationships together with embodying the fundamental principles, values and behaviours that are detailed within the 6C’s (2013) and the NHS Constitution (2013). Finally, mentors need to take into consideration the areas for development. These may involve either a person, a professional or a prospective learning environment. The best examples of supplementary evidence include university re-understanding of mentor’s role within orientation, documentation of student practice, communication with CFP, student welcome packs, ward managers, PEF, reflective writing and self-evaluation (Royal College of Nursing 2008).
Facilitating Learning Programs
Besides establishing effective work relationships, the mentor is also required to understand how to facilitate learning for an assortment of students that are available within a specific section of practice where appropriate. He or she should encourage self-management of learning opportunities as well as strive to provide support to optimise individual potential. As such, the mentor needs to use knowledge of the student’s learning stage to choose suitable opportunities of learning in the process of meeting individual needs (Wigens & Heathershaw, 2013). Similarly, he or she should facilitate the selection of applicable learning strategies in integrating learning from academic as well as practical experience. Finally, the mentor should seriously consider supporting students by critical reflection upon their learning experience. This approach enhances future learning in which the mentor supports students to accurately identify their learning needs. According to Duffy (2013), examples of supplementary evidence in this particular domain entail evidence of teaching sessions, student practice documentation, planning of visits appropriate for the level of student to enhance learning, student mid and end placement reports, written feedback from students, facilitation/teaching methods/plans, reflective writing/self-evaluation and evidence of supporting student evaluation (Kilgallon & Thompson 2012).
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The Four Stages of Mentoring
Effective mentoring process should be procedural and thorough. As such, mentoring has to be conducted in conformity with the following four stages for it to engender credible outcomes for both the mentor and the mentee.
Stage 1: Preparing for the Mentorship
At this stage, mentors get an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the requisite prospective qualities and competencies of a mentor. The mentor also takes time to do self-assessment in preparation for the mentorship program. The self-assessment entails exploring of significant areas of mentorship such as identification of personal motivation to be a mentor, clarification of the expectations and roles as a mentor and finally determining one’s readiness to become a mentor (Nursing and Midwifery Council 2008). This phase also incorporates the preparation of staff together with the environment of workplace for the new physician. It is popularly suggested that the mentor needs to contact the new physician before their arrival. He or she should as well provide the physician with adequate information about the practice setting and finally request information from them, which may be helpful in the preparation of the mentorship.
Stage 2: Negotiation about the Mentorship Relationship
This stage entails negotiation that results in agreement between mentorship partners on learning goals as well as defining the content and process of the relationship. This stage constitutes the development of a learning plan. The learning plan comprises the criteria for success, the preferred learning style and the mutual understanding of the roles of the mentor and learner. Such roles include the responsibilities of mentorship partners, the number of times when the partners should meet, the frequency of communication, the partner that should take the initiative for the communication, the operating assumptions concerning the issue of confidentiality and a workable strategy to deal with obstacles to the relationship as they arise among others.
Stage 3: Facilitating Learning, Advocacy and Professional Networking
This is a very detailed stage of all the four stages. The greatest learning coupled with benefits of mentorship usually takes place at this particular stage. The accomplishment of this phase relies on sustenance of the climate of mutual trust as well as respect. The focus of review sessions entails the facilitation of learning as well as professional networking that are conducted on a regular basis. Therefore, the mentor is obliged to have an understanding of his or her role as a facilitator of learning and advocate for professional networking (Duffy 2003). Since mentors also facilitate learning, they must be resources for learning, instead of being mere didactic instructors who offer all the answers required during the session. Therefore, Larocque & Luhanga (2013) argue that for one to reach this goal, the best mentor must strive to establish a supportive climate which is quite conducive to learning. They should also fully involve learners to plan what to learn and the methodologies of learning. Similarly, successful mentors usually encourage learners to identify and use a diversity of resources in accomplishing their objectives. Finally, the same mentors assist learners in implementing as well as assessing their goals and aspirations for the mentorship program.
The effective preparation at this stage of mentorship entails the utmost readiness of the mentor for engendering appropriate learning opportunities together with general guidelines for the discussion of key issues during feedback and review sessions. Possible issues that a mentor should address include generating a list of learning opportunities by asking the available in-house opportunities to provide exposure to new learning, the types of opportunities available in-house for professional networking, the opportunities that are available outside the health care centre for new learning, and opportunities available outside the health centre for professional networking among other. Finally, the mentor should also design a framework for the emerging discussions during regular review sessions. This framework should be done through the identification of the main agenda of the meeting, reflection on the successes ensuing from the previous meeting, enquire about the problems or complications that may have been encountered since the previous meeting. The framework can also be arrived at via discussing how the challenges identified were resolved and reviewing specific goals or aspects of the learning plan that may have been addressed since the previous meeting. The framework should also identify the appropriate time and location for the prospective meeting or review session and finally determine a number of prospective outcomes to be addressed during the following meeting when possible and relevant.
Stage 4: Closing the Mentorship Relationship
This stage is usually a mentorship relationship which may be determined by a pre-set schedule; nonetheless, this short stage remains a crucial step in any learning process. This last stage of mentoring can be challenging and at the same time rewarding. This is because the stage offers a rich opportunity for mentorship partners to gauge and reflect on their learning as they take the new learning to another level. As such, there must be a relevant strategy and process to exit.
The Five Underlying Principles in Mentoring
For any mentorship program to be effective, the mentors have to adhere to the following underlying principles of mentoring.
- First, appropriate mentoring requires a relationship that is founded on trust, confidentiality and mutual respect between the mentor and the mentee.
- Besides, mentoring involves relationships that have clear, close and un-coerced bounds as opposed to a relationship based on friendship and parenting (Zerwekh & Garneau 2014).
- The third principle the mentor and the mentee devote indefinite time and commitment to the mentoring.
- Fourth, a mentoring relationship is planned for enhancing specific growth goals of a mentee but not for organisational requirements such as employee appraisal.
- Finally, the main intention of mentoring has to be mutually established by the mentor in conjunction with the mentee who must jointly define the clear outcomes.
If these principles are strictly followed by both the mentor and the mentee, the ensuing mentoring process is likely to be a big success.
The Key Challenges Facing You and Your Team as Role Models in Your Practice Setting
In every practice setting, there are key challenges which the facilitators must always be ready to overcome. The challenges usually determine the amount of strength that a person can employ in order to surmount the huddles that impede the progress. The first challenge that I face in my team as a role model is the lack of time and demand for patient care. This always makes me procrastinate my responsibilities with hope of getting ample time someday to compensate the lost opportunities, but it is often not possible to recover. Secondly, I always lack adequate preparation and support which have been making my students deliver dismal performance in the studies. Moral support sourced from diverse channels goes a long way in determining the level of performance of both the mentor and the mentees. The third challenge that my team and I face is inadequate educational guidance in completing evaluation documentation of the educational institution. This usually makes my works and that of my team look shambolic and un-presentable. Fourthly, I also fail to receive regular updates and relevant in-servicing training, which would have augmented my knowledge and skills in mentoring. Finally, there has always been a problem of the lack of backup from practice development manager as well as clinical practice facilitators who should be working with link lecturers to support us. The aforementioned challenges have largely convoluted our program of mentorship; that is why our goals have not been exhaustively achieved.
The Value of the Standards to the Mentorship Role
The standards of mentorship are of great value to the mentorship role because they determine the degree of seriousness that the participant will employ in the process of mentoring. At the same time, the requisite standards make the facilitators regard the program with the seriousness that it deserves and therefore can take their time to prepare and research the relevant methodologies to improve their mode of mentoring. Standards aid greatly in the process of developing the curriculum for mentoring which is helpful for providing guidance on how the program of mentoring should be handled.
The Assessment Session
Assessment is a vital practice in the mentoring process. A mentor evaluates the scope of understanding of their mentees by the method. There are several suitable assessment methods which the mentor can adopt although the pervasive ones include formative evaluation and summative evaluation (Gerhart 2011). While the latter is often adopted at the end of mentoring sessions, usually at the end of the semester or academic year, the formative evaluation is a continuous process which nearly comes at the end of every mentorship topic. In the case of this assessment plan, I intent to adopt the formative evaluation for the mentorship training, which may last virtually a week and which would assume the following mentorship levels of Gibbs’ reflective cycle model:
There will be general description of the mentees’ issues or subjects that demand mentoring. Through one-on-one discussion with a number of them, the mentor will be enabled to learn how the mentees got into the challenges highlighted and whether it would be worth giving attention to them through mentoring or it would be a mere waste of time. Mentees would be expected to categorically explain what they would have done on their own in response to the incident and what would have made them resort to mentorship session in response to the problem (Gerhart 2011). The mentees should acknowledge whether the mentoring sessions were well conducted and whether the program was generally suitable for the kind of challenge addressed. The strengths and weaknesses from the mentoring will also be explained so that mentors can review their manner of planning for the subsequent mentoring programs.
Mentees should comment on the methodologies adopted in mentoring: whether they felt satisfied or the program needed some adjustment. The mentors will also gauge the unanimous mood of mentees before, during and after the mentoring sessions particularly about the time taken to cover certain modules where demonstrations were needed. Lastly, the mentees should comment on the environment of the mentoring and whether there would be a need to change the future location of the mentoring session. Similar remarks should be extended to the mentors and how mentees would have generally perceived them. Worth noting should be the feeling whether every mentee’s learning style was well catered for or not as it would be revealed through the questionnaire lists that each would be required to fill in.
Here, both the mentor and the mentees are to evaluate the positive and negative sides of the mentoring experience. It should be substantiated beyond reasonable doubt that adequate mentoring took place among all the mentees by looking at the manner in which some of them would identify signs of conflict among people in the society. Reports got from mentees shortly after the mentoring program will reveal whether or not the mentoring sessions were fruitful or futile. This would be observed from the way whether the mentees handled situations similar to the cases dealt with during the sessions and how prepared they would be to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the mentoring process. It would be easy to note that mentoring had indeed taken place as the same mentees would elaborate on the appropriate means that they had in mind about how they purposed to solve the arising situations (Brown, Douglas, Garrity & Shepherd 2012).
Mentees will be required to examine the recommended mechanisms of mitigating the effects of such conflicts and determine by what degree. Mentees will also be expected to categorically demonstrate their precautionary measures to prevent emerging conflicts from affecting the third party or from causing collateral damage to the entire community. It will be observed whether the same mentees would make any effort to develop measure that would be appropriate to avert the recurrence of whatever situations that would necessitate mentoring (Eramah 2012). Mentors will appraise the way in which different trainees demonstrated the knowledge acquired from the mentoring to sensitise the public against perpetuating practices of conflicts in the society (Eno & Kerr 2013). Through the popularisation of relevant slogans, mentees should exude what they hoped to get from the society. It will be established whether the society would wake to the reality that all people were meant to live together harmoniously and all were entitled to the right of equality before the law and the Creator.
Necessary comparisons would be made about the current behaviour of mentees and the time of their admission to the mentoring sessions. The impact of the mentoring program on the mentees will thereafter be well established by observing their displayed behaviours (Duffy 2013). One way through which behaviours of mentees may improve is the fact that most of them will immediately begin implementing whatever knowledge and skills they gathered from the mentoring program. The reports got from routine inspection done by mentors will reveal whether program had an impact on the behaviours and whether mentors imparted new knowledge, skills and attitudes in them (Kilgallon & Thompson 2012). It will be established whether the mentees are aware that their behaviours changed for the better courtesy of the training program. This will be confirmed through observing how a number of them approached the issues that arose in their midst and from the responses read from the questionnaires.
Mentors will assess the readiness of their mentees in dealing with issues or the same situations should they arise again in the near future. This would be exhibited through behaviour, attitude and skills after the mentorship. Reports will depict whether other people in the society would have benefited from the ongoing mentorship program through the influence from the mentees or not. An appropriate action plan shall thereafter be put in place just to arrest the issues in case they reappeare (Wilkes, Joyce & Edmond 2011).
The Teaching Session
Activity goal(s) and Outcomes:
- To identify some issues requiring mentorship within the vicinity.
- To describe and demonstrate how issues in question can be solved
- To explain how the envisaged remedies can be of benefit to mentees and the society as well.
- The mentor will begin the session first by salutations and showing care about their well-being.
- Make a quick review of the previous session which was about issues pertaining to human development.
- Introduce the new subject/topic using relevant examples and illustrations in the society.
- Respond to the mentor’s greeting cheerfully and audibly as well as welcoming their mentor for a session.
- Answer the questions and make their contribution during the session.
- Pay maximum attention and give appropriate answers according to the questions asked.
Conclusion or Transition
- Revision of the main points of the activities
- Review the session by reading the correctly constructed action plans as mentees react by giving their comments.
- Follow the mentor’s guidance and do correction to what has been concluded wrongly.
WORK and TALK in your activity and explanation:
30% of time is used for communicative and translation method.
70% of time, the mentees will interact with the mentor as well as each other.
Lesson planning is the prerequisite step in the mentoring program and is the responsibility of the mentor. It is similar to drawing a roadmap towards the desired destination. The goal helps the mentor as well as the mentees to be focused on a particular subject and topic until they fully understand the contents involved. Achieving greater goals over a specific program of mentorship is not only significant for the mentees but also fulfilling to the mentors who facilitate these sessions (Heaslip & Scammell 2012). This can only be possible through proper planning which the mentor is in charge of. Mentors who have interest in assisting his or her mentees to get the best out of the mentorship program cannot dispute the fact that planning is an imperative process in teaching lest the course is covered in fiascos (Duffy & Glasgow Caledonian University 2006). As a determined mentor who finds fulfilment in my career, I am very sensitive to the needs of my mentees and the expectation of my directors who act on behalf of the innocent and vulnerable mentor. Failing to plan will not only be the detriment to the mentees and disappointment to the director of NMC, it will culminate in the end into my own demerits as I shall have put my responsibility to the brink.
The Leadership Skills Required By a Mentor
In ensuring that mentorship is implemented without any hitch, good leadership is mandatory to every mentor. A good mentor should possess certain skills to make the mentorship program a success. According to Royal College of Nursing (2008), the first skill that is very crucial is time consciousness. Successful mentoring demands devoting necessary time to the relationship, using program guidelines and being consistent with the mentee. Besides, time management is being easily accessible as a mentor at any time (Larocque & Luhanga 2013). Mentor sessions cannot take place without being contacted. The mentor should be readily available to the mentee based on what is negotiated in the mentoring agreement and specified in the underlying program guidelines. Regular contacts for mentorship session at short notice are more desirable as compared to less frequent contacts for longer periods (Cowan, Wilson-Barnett, Norman & Murrells 2008).
Therefore, the mentor should portray credibility in his or her mentorship style. Mentoring is based on trust that arises from the belief in the mentor’s word and actions. Being honest about what the mentor knows or does not know and modelling what is said to the mentee is critical (Cowan, Norman & Coopamah 2005). Providing information that is timely and accurate is also an important part of credibility. Finally, independence of mentor’s mind is significant. Successful mentoring occurs when mentors focus their attention on the mentees’ needs and not vice versa. One of the benefits for mentors is the sense of satisfaction derived from mentoring (Walker & Ralph 2011). What is important to remember is that this is a by-product of the relationship and not its purpose. Effective mentors have a strong sense of who they are, and they do not rely on the mentee.