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On 17 May 2012, Healthcare professionals and students alike went online to explore the issue of mentors further.

Spurred on by the recent Student Nursing Times Awards, where the very pinnacle of student nursing and nurse education was celebrated, #NurseShift wanted to hear stories of mentors, both good and bad.

The chat started optimistically with @AgencyNurse saying “I always remember the best and the worst of my mentors… Hopefully learned from both” to which @Bartontd said “Learning from negative experiences - I think we can all say we have encountered this. But it should not be promoted!

@AdamRoxby expressed a view shared by many other students that  “… Students can feel so helpless at the hands of mentors and that’s not a nice place to be.”

Then the conversation moved to what students should do in the case of having a mentor they can’t get on with and the best answer came from @Ramck001 who said “Go to your university and tell them everything, openly and honestly. There’s nothing to fear in the truth.

@switchedonduhhh gave a tip on how she gets the best out of her mentors by saying that “… if u don’t ask u don’t get so I ask a lot lol cheeky but hey :D” to which @hannietaylor responded by saying “you can never asked to many questions & the day you stop asking is the time to worry!:)”.

This was a great bit of advice and got our prestigious #TweetOfTheChat award for a great comment.

The chat continued with @sroo91 saying that “I can’t wait to be a mentor when I qualify! We all know what it’s like to be students so use it to help the future once!

Following that there was some chat from nurses and mentors on the difficulties they face. @Bartontd said that “it is a huge responsibility, particularly when faced with under performing students.” to which @MrsGracePoole offered this advice: “how to say a student that you are not going to make it … address it early on.

The chat continued with some more great comments but I will leave you with an optimistic tweet sent from @KatyWoo who said “I wanted to sing the praises of my mentor! I aspire to be like her once I’m qualified.

It seems that while there are examples of some unfortunate experiences had with mentors there’s a lot of respect and admiration for the difficult job undertaken by these nurses. The advice seems to be that problems should be addressed openly and in a timely manner by both qualified staff and students alike.

So I want to thank everybody for taking the time to chat and, as always, a big thank you for adhering to the #NMC’s social networking guidelines and remaining professional online.

Adam Roxby @AdamRoxby, standing in for Mikey Whitehead @STNNurse_Mikey

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