An insight in to the role of nurse mentors and teachers
Mentors are integral to teaching hospitals and it is important to recognise and value their contributions to the development of students. Training the next generation of nurses and midwifes can often be challenging, as mentors must ensure patients come first. A good mentor has the ability to incorporate busy clinical priorities with student learning.
The first step to becoming a mentor is successful completion of a mentorship course. Mentors with a minimum of one year clinical experience are then encouraged to progress and become a sign-off mentor, taking responsibility for declaring the future workforce fit for registration.
In the community setting, it is imperative that staff assessing future district nurses, health visitors and school nurses have a practice teacher qualification. NMC registered teachers used to be based in universities but staff in education posts in the acute and community sectors are now more commonly training to become teachers.
At Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust we recognise it as a significant achievement when our staff become mentors or gain other qualifications that allow them to formally support and assess students. The Trust Education Team launched an initiative to give all those with a formal NMC recognised mentor or teacher qualification a badge of recognition.
The badge does several things. It helps students identify the role different staff members have in their learning and gives mentors recognition of their achievement.
The badges have been extremely well received and act as an advertisement in their own right with many staff members saying they feel proud to wear it and feel valued as a mentor or teacher. Junior nurses and midwives have reported they feel inspired by other staff wearing the badge to gain their own mentorship qualification. Charge nurses and midwives have told us the badges create healthy conversation about mentorship among the clinical team.
Patients have also been asking staff what the badges signify, giving mentors the opportunity to involve patients in student learning and consent to them being involved in their care. Our patients are regularly cared for by students under supervision so it is important for them to understand the role of the mentor.
This discrete innovation may seem relatively insignificant. But it has been greatly appreciated by both our students and the staff involved in mentoring and support. At London nurse education networking meetings, other trusts have expressed interest and it would be delightful to see this becoming a national recognition of mentors and teacher alike.
Karen Edwards (Practice Educator)
Mags Jubb (Education, Training and Development Manager – Clinical Education)
Colin Ramage (Placement Facilitator)
Heather Wood (Placement Facilitator)
Rachel Brown (Practice Educator)