In my second year I started a community placement where the hub and spoke model was being used.
My mentor had initially made some comments to me about her lack of confidence in completing the dreaded OAR and that she didn’t understand the portfolio at all. No problem, I thought, PLT at university was on-hand to come out and go through it, to support the clinical area. I offered to contact her so she could come in but was refused.
”She didn’t carve out protected time with me to sit down and go through my midpoint interview, so I had no idea where I was at or what things I still needed to do in order to progress to stage three of the programme.”
During my second hub my associate mentor was off and my mentor had become a little slack. I was no longer allowed to do things I had in my first hub. She didn’t carve out protected time with me to sit down and go through my midpoint interview, so I had no idea where I was at or what things I still needed to do in order to progress to stage three of the programme. Instead she took my things home and asked a non-nursing family member to conduct my interview.
“I worried there was no way she would sign me off now. I might as well quit, I thought. What had I done?”
At the start of the third hub, when the PLT in practice asked to see me, my heart sunk! This is when I broke down and told her everything that had been of concern to me - that she wasn’t checking paperwork and e-signing it, supporting my OAR, or seeing patients. At the time, I felt so awful that I had said these things about my mentor. Further, she was supposed to be the one to sign me off so I could progress! I worried there was no way she would sign me off now. I might as well quit, I thought. What had I done?
However, the team were fantastic in supporting me through to the very end. My associate returned and took over as my mentor. The university worked closely with me to ensure I got through my final stretch of second-year; they believed in me.
”She could have ruined a career that I had already worked so hard for by allowing me to progress without the right skills.”
But my life was a bit awkward to begin with. The PLT at placement questioned why I hadn’t raised these concerns sooner. Yet the university were fantastic in supporting me with this and they explained it is often difficult for students to do so as the fear of being failed is intense and can hinder students.
After a week or so, things settled and I was relieved I had spoken out. She could have ruined a career that I had already worked so hard for by allowing me to progress without the right skills. This could have resulted in failing later in the programme – extreme, I know, but it happens and arguably because students fear the worst. It was the best thing I could have done and made me feel so much more confident in progressing through to the final stage.
Charlotte Mannix is a third-year mental health student nurse at University of Derby