Different approaches to student nurse mentorship are to be investigated in a new study supported by Health Education England.
The project has been set up in response to the challenges faced by placement providers in supporting an increasing number of adult nursing training places over the past few years.
“Several studies reported that the organisational context and quality of individual relationships had more impact on positive outcomes than the type of mentorship model”
Additional pressures on nurse mentors, who supervise and assess the students, has also led to the launch of the work.
HEE has appointed Karen Sheehy, a nurse and senior lecturer in mentorship and professional education at Oxford Brookes University, as a fellow for a year to lead the project.
Ms Sheehy will undertake a comparative study to explore existing and innovative methods of mentorship in the Thames Valley area.
Based on study findings, the work is expected to lead to recommendations that will inform mentoring in Thames Valley NHS trusts, higher education institutions and the private, voluntary and independent sector. It will also contribute to best practice across HEE.
Ms Sheehy noted the importance of the role of mentors as teachers, supervisors and assessors.
Mentorship study set up to tackle placement challenges
“The Nursing and Midwifery Council makes it a mandatory requirement that all pre-registration nursing and midwifery students on approved educational programmes have a mentor. This mentor supports learning and assessment in practice, and makes judgements on fitness for practice to enter the register,” she noted in a blog.
She referred to a major national review of nursing education and training from last year – the Shape of Caring review – which found services in parts of the country trialling new mentorship models to increase the capacity and quality of placements.
Ms Sheehy highlighted new models differed from the traditional approach of one-to-one support by having a mentor assigned to multiple students and by providing “different intensities of mentoring input”.
“Several studies reported that the organisational context and quality of individual relationships had more impact on positive outcomes than the type of mentorship model used,” she added.