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‘Is it ok to question my mentor?’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m a mental health student nurse and I started first placement of third year a few weeks ago.

“My mentor seems nice but I’m not sure he always knows what he’s doing. I know from speaking to other members of staff that a few months ago he was banned from doing the meds because he made some mistakes. I don’t know the details but it doesn’t surprise me.

“The other day we were giving a patient haloperidol and lorazepam. I started drawing it up under my mentor’s supervision but when I tried to use two separate syringes he told me to just draw up into the same one.

“I’ve always been taught that haloperidol and lorazepam should be given in two separate injections and just don’t trust my current mentor to know better than nurses I’ve worked with in the past.

“I didn’t want to use this method but didn’t want to go against what he said, so I told him I didn’t feel confident giving it but didn’t explain that I didn’t agree with his method.

“He ended up giving the injection (both drugs together) and thinks it’s because I was wary of giving an injection while a patient is being restrained.

“Should I have said something? What would other people have done?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice


Readers' comments (4)

  • I honestly don't know what I would do in this situation, previously I would have questioned them, but after a recent mentor basically called me a know it all and inferred that I think I know more than I do just for asking questions in relation to the topics we had been discussing it has knocked my confidence quite a bit.

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  • To be able to challenge them you need to have the evidence to back it up. If you can find a trust guideline or NICE guidance that say this then you can point them in the direction of it and say you have read the evidence there. The only time I have seen drugs combined in a syringe is for palliative and of life pain relief.

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  • If you have a concern over anything you need to voice it and it is then up to your mentor to inform you of why they know this is correct. Never do anything you are not comfortable about.
    Even as a qualified nurse your opinions will differ with others, but you have to live with your actions so if you do not feel something is right then stand up for yourself.
    Mistakes happen, but bad practice can go unchallenged for years. Do not get swept into it because you feel your voice is too small.

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  • this is a very very difficult situation, that many student nurses regularly face, i would talk to the line manager on the ward and your tutor. Be professional, don't engage in gossip, but record and report the incident you described. i think you dealt with the situation very well, but i completely understand your concern. If there is concern over their practice' should they be a mentor? I think students should have the right to request a different mentor or placement and should be checked up on in confidence, with the tutor and ward manager each placement. its a shame this does not occur. I am glad you seem to know your stuff anyway.

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