Preparation for Mentorship and Assessing Introduction. Learning in practice is an important part of the curriculum and accounts for approximately 50% of the pre-qualifying nursing programme in the UK (Andrews and Roberts, 2003). Supporting students to learn is an important function for both educators and practitioners and thus teaching, assessing and mentoring are fundamental aspects of nurses’ roles and responsibilities. The quality of the clinical learning environment is a national priority for both Trusts and Higher Education Institutes (Rapson, Holding and Shepherd, 2003).
In recent years, the impetus for review can be attributable to a variety of sources including recommendations made by the government in ‘Making a Difference’ (Department of Health (DoH), 1999) and the emphasis on ‘Fitness for Practice’ by the United Kingdom Central Council (1999). More recently, the ‘Placements in Focus’ document stressed that the environment should provide an area in which students can experience good quality care and treatment of patients (DoH, 2001). It is recognized that clinical staff exercise a major influence on the quality of pre-registration programmes (Eraut et al, 1995, cited in Stuart 2003 p33). They do much of the teaching, supervision and assessment of students and, as it is likely that this will continue it is imperative that they are capable of fulfilling these roles (Clifford, 1995; White et al, 1994; cited in Stuart 2003 p33). Various definitions of the terms ‘mentor’, ‘teacher’ and ‘assessor’ have been offered through the years and choosing one in favour of another is a difficult task. The English National Board.Order now
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