In the following assignment the author will critically explore, discuss, reflect upon and evaluate mentorship within clinical nursing placements. With particular reference to learning disabilities and respite care, the author will look at the needs and benefits of mentorship, as well as the problems and constraints, especially being in such a specialised service. The author will explore the area of orientation, looking at why it is such an important aspect of the whole placement area. Once these aspects have been explored, the author will go on to discuss the placement, the problems that have been encountered throughout and the ways in which these can be addressed effectively, to ensure that they are reduced and expelled as much as possible.
Any names and places used throughout the assignment have been changed to ensure anonymity and maintain confidentiality at all times, adhering to data protection.
The concept of mentorship was originally introduced in the 1970s in America. It was fully embraced and bought over to the UK as a formal support system in the late 1980s (Learning Disability Practice, 2006, 9, 3, 16-18). At that time, nursing was predominately carried out by females. It was these females that identified the lack of, and need of a formal support system within the profession.
The role of mentorship has been explored by many authors and theorists since the introduction of it into the nursing profession. In 1982, Zwolski stated that ‘mentorship is seen as a broader, longer term relationship, aimed at guiding the student towards an established place in the profession’.
This was later backed up by Armitage and Burnard in 1991, arguing that ‘a deeper understanding of the role and functions associated with a . .iable. (www.NursingTimes.net 2008) Under the NMC guidelines, standards to support learning and assessment (2006), all nurses must mentor at least 2 students every 3 years.
However not all nurses have acquired the knowledge, skills and attributes required to be an effective mentor. (NMC 2006). The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) discovered that the main reason for a student to have an inadequate placement is the lack of access to mentors, due to sickness, annual leave or other reasons. This consequently leads to a lack of consistency when setting goals, reviewing progress and assessing learning objectives at the final interview (RCN). Other reasons include short staffing – leading to overstretched staff not having time for students, being left to learn for themselves, thus meaning students aren’t given the opportunities to learn and expand upon their experiences.