This essay aims to critically evaluate my role as a mentor in facilitating effective learning in the community nursing setting and reflect on my experience as a student mentor using Gibbs reflective cycle (1988) throughout the text to aid my reflection. (Please see appendix 1).
I will discuss educational audit within my clinical setting and will describe how I created an effective learning environment for my student and how she was integrated into the clinical setting, critically evaluating the experience as I reflect as well as incorporating models of change.
I will then move onto learning and teaching strategies, reflecting on how I applied these to help my ...view middle of the document...
The practice element brings the theory to life for the student and it is an opportunity for practical skills to be observed, practiced and retained (Beskine2009). This is supported by Race (2005) who states that you can only truly learn by doing, a person may think that they know how to perform a particular skill through theory, this can only be confirmed by practice. According to Moscaritolo (2009), ‘The clinical learning environment has been and will continue to be a large part of nursing education’ (P 18). It is therefore extremely important that the clinical setting is an environment conducive to learning.
Before Zoe (my student) arrived in the clinical area I was thinking about how I could make the clinical area as student friendly as possible. Upon reflection, I was feeling apprehensive yet was looking forward to the learning experience. I decided to carry out a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the clinical environment. The weaknesses can then be incorporated into an action plan to improve the learning environment (Welsh & Swan 2002). This analysis highlighted a lack of text books and journals for Zoe to use. According to Quinn (2000), access to information through sources such as books, journals, and the internet is a factor towards a positive learning environment. I therefore formulated an action plan and spoke to my colleagues and we were all able to increase our resources by contributing books and journals from our own personal collections. The analysis also highlighted strengths in out clinical area such as easy access to the internet and quiet rooms for study.
According to Stuart (2007), the importance of the mentor in establishing a positive and conducive learning environment has grown. I feel that this is especially true in the community nursing setting because learning does not just happen in one place. For example, the NMC (2006), state that the mentor must support critical reflection and ensure there is time for discussion and explanation, so community nurses may utilise their time spent travelling with their student for this discussion (Ripley 2007). Hall (2006) adds that in the community setting the patient’s own home is often the learning environment and it provides a good variety of opportunities for learning although it must be noted that the mentor has less control over this environment.
In order to create an environment conducive to learning, the learner must be assisted by the mentor to identify their learning needs (NMC 2006). On Zoe’s first day, after her orientation, we were able to draw up a learning contract so that I was aware of what she hoped to gain from her community placement. Zoe’s main objective was to obtain a competency in removal of sutures or clips.
The qualities of a mentor are another important element of the learning environment (Gary and Smith 2000). This includes professional and personal qualities such as professionalism, a friendly nature,...