The aim of this assignment is to critically evaluate the role of a mentor with personal reflection of the mentoring process, looking at four key requirements for mentoring practice.

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The aim of this assignment is to critically evaluate the role of a mentor with personal reflection of the mentoring process, looking at four key requirements for mentoring practice.

According to the Nursing Midwifery Council NMC (2006) the term mentor is used to describe the role of a registered nurse who assesses students’ needs, to help facilitate the learning process in a practical setting. Chambers and Wall (2000) suggest that a good mentor should include qualities of honesty, enthusiasm, trust, patience, knowledge, experience and empathy. They should also be able to have a non-judgmental attitude and good interpersonal skills.

For this mentorship course I have been allocated a second year child branch student. She has had little to no experience working with neonates, but has worked on a children’s ward. Her placement will last 10 weeks and she has been allocated 2 mentors. For the first week of her placement she worked with me solidly. Kenworthy and Nicklin (2000) suggest that the more comfortable and secure a student feels within the placement environment, they are more likely to have a positive experience. Honey and Mumford (1992) express that if you teach according to a specific learning style, preferred by the student this creates a tailored learning experience. They suggest that it’s important to tailor your teaching to the style your student prefers for them to have the best learning experience possible. They also describe learners as activists, pragmatists, theorists or reflectors. Honey and Mumford (1989) researched that many students were a combination of these styles but normally one of them stands strongest.  When first meeting my student I took into account the learning styles depicted by Honey and Mumford (1989) to try and teaching my student in the best way possible. I determined that my student was a pragmatist and reflector which I feel best describes my style as well.  So this worked well for our student mentor relationship, and helped me teach her in the best way possible.

It is important that within the first initial time spent with the student that a learning contract is created as this document will assist in the learning project. A learning contact is a document that is negotiated between mentor and student which identifies the learning needs of the student and aims to depict what the student will learn to achieve these learning outcomes (Lowry 1997, Richardson 1987). According to Knowles (1980), contract learning helps solve the problems of dealing with wide changes within any group of adult students. Knowles (1986) accepts that’s contracts are not also suitable when the subject is new to the student and areas of interest and improvement are not clear. Knowles (1986) also concludes that they increase student motivation, facilities learning and helps build a bond between mentor and student. Learning contracts are a form of self-directed learning that encourages students to take initiative in their own learning. It is totally individualised to the students, with them setting their own goals and this is how they evaluate their own progress. An important part of learning contracts is personal reflection on the whole learning cycle to identify areas for improvement. Knowles (1984) also argues that there is a huge different from adult learner and children learners psychologically. He uses the term ‘andragogy’ to depict the way adults learn, and pedagogy to depict the way in which children learn. He breaks the ways in which adults learn into seven fundamentals which mentors should take into account (Knowles 1984). Reece and Walker (2002) argue that adult learning works well in relevant professions, recommend that teachers need to provide more individualised learning.

I found when completing this learning contract with my student a very easy process, as my student was well prepared and knew exactly what goals she wanted to achieve.  I was also prepared as I knew what goals, also that I wanted my student to achieve while on placement.  The documentation was very easy to understand and clear in what I had to write.

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Learning contracts assessments are important for identifying goals that are not being achieved at an early stage, to help support the students after identifying areas for improvement to be able to achieve these goals at the final assessment. One of the main factors that affect learning is the learning environment, the place in which the students are being taught. Bloom (1965) defines an environment as being the circumstances, forces and external surroundings which have an effect on an individual. A learning environment can be separated into two elements the academic and clinical environment. The clinical environment involves all the area ...

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