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Having a supportive mentor makes a world of difference

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My second year hub placement is very different from my first year hub; it’s a fast-paced surgical ward and I was concerned at first that I would become lost on this placement, as I often doubt my abilities

My worries were taken away within the first week. Welcoming staff and interesting patients with varied conditions that I had not encountered before, made this placement exciting.

Meeting my mentor for the first time was a nerve-wracking experience. What would she expect from me now I’m a second year? Would she like me? Would be work well together?

Many questions flashed through my mind, but I am sure every other student feels like this and I am not alone in my worries.

We both sat down and I explained that I had not worked on this type of ward before and that I was worried how I would cope, she assured me that all would be fine. Having that assurance made me feel confident in my abilities and that I would be able to grow whilst on my second year placement.

The first four weeks I found I settled in well and being assigned my own group of patients helped me learn new skills such as collaborating with other professionals. This may sound trivial but doing this made my confidence soar.

During the second half of my placement, I had some personal challenges to face. I discussed these with my mentor who understood. Having a supportive mentor is essential to you being able to get the most out of your placement.

Over the last 18 months I have had some fantastic mentors and some not so fantastic ones. My current mentor is very definitely the former - she even calls me her right wing woman!

We are able to plan our shifts together and we sit down after handover so she can assign me my duties. I suggest ideas that we then work through together. More than anything, she listens to me, guides me, advises me, and gives me constructive criticism.

My mentor takes an active role in my learning ensuring I am up to date with my competencies and she often prints off information for me to read on policies. Having such a proactive mentor has spurred me on, and once I qualify I would like my mentor to know that she has played a huge part in my journey and without her encouragement and support I may not have succeeded.

Gaining a good relationship with your mentor is vital, it will stand you in good stead during your placement and your future career.


Louise Goodyear is Student Nursing Times’ Adult branch student editor

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