Whether we like it or not, students need to be mentored.
We all need that essential link to ensure that our time in placement is both productive and efficient. It is part of a mentor’s role to get to know their students and to try and tailor their teaching style to students’ individual needs.
The relationship between a student and a mentor is built up on expectations, students expect their mentors to be supportive, constructive and encouraging. Mentors, on the other hand, expect a student to be willing to learn, adaptable and professional.
Inevitably when a large number of students are mixed with a large number of mentors, differences in personalities are going to take place.
Speaking from my own experience of a mentor who wasn’t as supportive as I’d hoped, it can make things very tricky. But if you face a similar situation then you should know that there are methods of support to help you. There will be a link lecturer or link nurse between the placement and your university to help you or you could speak to your tutor directly.
But it’s not all negative.
I think there is a tendency among some students to underestimate how difficult it is to be a mentor. Being a mentor doesn’t absolve a nurse from their massive workload. They still have to contend with their day-to-day duties and on top of that they may have one, two or perhaps three students to guide through the nursing process.
This can be quite a strain so there are ways in which us students can help ourselves and make our mentor relationship better:
- At the start of a placement we could set out what we would like to achieve from the practice area
- We could ensure we don’t leave our practice documents to the last minute
- We could be willing to adapt and fit in with the general ethos of our placement area
What do you think?
On the whole, the student-mentor relationship can benefit everyone involved. Students benefit from their mentor’s experiences, and mentors feel proud of their student’s achievments. When I spoke to my mentor she told me about the sense of pride she felt when she became a mentor. She spoke of a recognition that her nursing skills were sufficient to be able to teach other people.
Both students and mentors can benefit from their time together all that it takes is a little bit of adjustment on both sides.
Do you benefit from your relationship with your mentor? How would you like your relationship with your mentor to be different?