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Essay: The role of the clinical mentor

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University of Southampton

Faculty of Health Sciences

Facilitating Assessment

and Learning in Practice Settings Level 6

Tutor ++++

Reflective Report

2061 Words

14th Nov 2016

REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Learning Outcome: 1

What?

Identify one aspect relating to the learning outcome and briefly justify this choice

The role of the clinical mentor encompasses various different aspects of nurturing the student, including supporting and coaching the student to allow them to achieve highest personal performance goals and improve, generally centres on an individual set goal at a time (Gopee 2015).  I will apply this to my work place setting and develop myself to be a positive and active coach and mentor for leaners within my clinical practice.

So What? Understanding the context

What have you learnt?  What have you read?  Relate this evidence to your practice

Mentoring and coaching has become a significant part of every clinical professionals life, which is highlighted  by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) code (2016) highlighting that as a paramedic I have a responsibility  to work with others sharing my skills, experience and knowledge as applicable for the advantage of the service user. Coaching and mentoring though seen as new to paramedic field has been around for many years within other allied health care professional to support, as the HCPC appears to currently offer little in the way of guidance for mentors compared the Royal College of Nursing who have developed a comprehensive toolkit to support the mentor in practice (RCN 2007).

Newton (2015) suggests that much of the science surrounding coaching is common sense. As we naturally coach as part of our everyday lives often without realising it, though coaching an individual can have a profound effect on their performance, helping them to learn rather than just teaching them. White (2009) further more suggests that coaching to achieve goals are commonly divided into two groups either end state or performance goals. With care to be taken that if they solely focusing on the end goal they run the risk of losing sight of what they are trying to achieve and become de-motivated. Coaching is therefore a means to develop formerly taught skills more fully to increase performance.

Now What? Modifying future outcomes

How will you apply this knowledge in practice? Consider this in terms of developing particular skills, knowledge or understanding that the literature suggests are helpful but that you may still need to learn/develop

A responsibility of the clinical mentor is to build on the student’s confidence whilst on clinical placement and engage them in further learning opportunities (Gopee 2015). Coaching is well suited to the paramedic field as the training that is delivered with many of the components required for coaching with clear and concise goals and objectives to be achieved within a set time frame (Whitmoore 2009).

I will achieve this by empowering my students to take responsibility for their own development through coaching them through a variety of learning opportunities, so that they can achieve their learning goals.  Involving them at all stages of the learning journey, varying from a more hands on for the new and inexperience student to a more hands off for the more experienced student. As Knowles, Holton and Swanson (2015) further suggest that be achieving this will keep the student motivated for longer.

References:

Gopee N (2015) Mentoring and supervision in Healthcare (3rd Edition). London: Sage

Health and Care Professionals Council (2016) Standards of conduct, performance and ethics. London: HCPC

Knowles M, Holton E and Swanson R (2015) The Adult Learner (8th Edition). Abingdon: Routledge

Newton M (2015) Are coaching and mentoring skills crucial for ambulance service managers? A personal reflection. Journal of Paramedic Practice 7(8): 408-410

Royal College of Nursing (2007) Guidance for mentors of nursing students and midwives. An RCN toolkit. London: RCN

Whitmoore J (2009) Coaching for performance: Growing Human Potential and Purpose- The principles and practice of coaching and leadership. London: Nichola Brealey Publishing

Appendices:

REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Learning Outcome: 2

What?

Identify one aspect relating to the learning outcome and briefly justify this choice

The clinical mentor will be have a great influence on students whilst undergoing clinical placement, this influence can either be a negative or positive experience for the student. It is essential then, that clinical mentors have an understanding of the various factors that influence learning within different settings and how different attitudes and styles effect the student (Rogers and Horrocks 2010).

So What? Understanding the context

What have you learnt?  What have you read?  Relate this evidence to your practice

Learning is fundamentally the acquirement of new skills and knowledge, or the development and improvement of an already current skill or piece of knowledge. Though Knowles, Houlton and Swanson (2015) suggest that It is not just a response to teaching, though involves an essential shift or movement of the mind involving a change behaviour, performance and knowledge.

Prior to any learning taking place, the students’ needs must be addressed in accordance with Marlow’s hierarchy of needs (Marlow, 1968), cited in Rogers and Horrocks (2010) whereby various students’ needs need to be met at least in part prior to moving onto a higher level of learning and allowing for increased motivation of the student, this further highlights the need for constant mentoring to ensure a safe learning environment is maintained throughout the clinical placement (Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) 2014).

As each student’s agenda for learning is different they will each take away what they require at that time. Though with the use of patient centred case studies, would allow students to examine real situations so that learning can take place through discussion, practice and gaining feedback (Jarvis 2010), as doing so would encompass the highest level in Gagne’s hierarchy (1965), cited in Knowles, Houlton and Swanson (2015).

Now What? Modifying future outcomes

How will you apply this knowledge in practice? Consider this in terms of developing particular skills, knowledge or understanding that the literature suggests are helpful but that you may still need to learn/develop

As an effective clinical mentor, must be up to date with current evidence based practice and be safe and competent in the role as a result, Walsh (2014) suggests that the clinical mentor are the best teaching implement to allow students to flourish to the best of their abilities. Whilst the clinical workload of the mentor particularly in the prehospital environment is extremely unpredictable, as such must be able to adapt their teaching style to both meet the current situation and the student’s learners need to enable learning to be achieved to the fullest potential.

Along with modifying the approach I mentor and teach students moving from one of teacher centred approach for a new student at the beginning, to one of a student centred approach for the more experienced student as this progression from one to another allows the learner to take more of an ownership of their own learning and development (Gopee 2015, Walsh 2014 and Rogers and Horricks 2010).

References:

Gopee N (2015) Mentoring and supervision in Healthcare (3rd Edition). London: Sage

Health and Care Professionals Council (2014) Standards of education and training. London: HCPC

Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice (4th Edition). Abingdon: Routledge

Knowles M, Holton E and Swanson A (2015) The Adult Learner (8th Edition). Abingdon: Routledge

Rogers A, Horrocks N (2010) Teaching Adults (4th Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press/ McGraw Hill

Walsh D (2014) The nurse mentor’s handbook (2nd Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press/ McGraw Hill

Appendices:

REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Learning Outcome: 3

What?

Identify one aspect relating to the learning outcome and briefly justify this choice

Continued assessment of individual students at various stages of their development is of fundamental importance to both the mentor and student alike, however these must be appropriate to the aim of the course and contribute to the competence of the training objectives (Walsh 2014). Though as Gopee (2015) suggests it can also be a difficult and challenging time due to the different opportunities and levels needed to meet involving core competences requirements as they progress along their learning journey.

So What? Understanding the context

What have you learnt?  What have you read?  Relate this evidence to your practice

As gatekeepers to our individual professions it is our responsibility to ensure that the competencies are met, maintaining the standards of our own profession’s, to ensure that the future healthcare professional is knowledgeable and safe whilst working within their chosen field. Though Curzon and Tummons (2013) further bring into question that assessments themselves could lead to increased levels of trepidation among students. Whereby personal reflection and informal discussions can be seen to empower and be a positive motivating factor.

Assessment occurs when evidence is collected to measure a student’s achievements against set criteria and is fundamentally the confirmation of new skills and knowledge Knowles, Houlton and Swanson (2015), suggesting that it is either assessment for learning (formative) or assessment of learning (summative).

Though for any assessment to be effective and be more objective, various components are suggested by Petty (2014). One key one being reliability in how precise the assessment as it is impossible to exactly reproduce the conditions each time the assessment is conducted. As factors surrounding reliability embrace use of different assessors, along with different times of day and physical and environmental conditions. However the goal is the get the maximum reliable assessment possible.

Now What? Modifying future outcomes

How will you apply this knowledge in practice? Consider this in terms of developing particular skills, knowledge or understanding that the literature suggests are helpful but that you may still need to learn/develop

As assessing the learning needs of students is something which I now find myself doing more regularly, I am fully aware of my responsibilities whilst completing assessments and that I am accountable for my decisions regarding any student’s clinical competency in accordance with various regulatory bodies’ guidelines (HCPC 2014; COP 2015).

To ensure that my assessments are conducted in a more reliable manner, I must always strive to assess them against set standards and not against the standards of other students or that of my own (Petty 2014). Furthermore Gopee (2015) proposes that as assessors it is paramount not to lose focus on the students’ needs and requirements, to allow for a fair assessment to be conducted.

References:

College of Paramedics (2015) Paramedic Curriculum Guidance (3rd Edition). Bridgewater: College of Paramedics

Curzon l and Tummons J (2013) Teaching in further education (7th Edition). London: Bloomsbury

Gopee N (2015) Mentoring and supervision in Healthcare (3rd Edition). London: Sage

Health and Care Professionals Council (2014) Standards of education and training. London: HCPC

Knowles M, Holton E and Swanson A (2015) The Adult Learner (8th Edition). Abingdon: Routledge

Petty G (2014) Teaching Today. A Practical Guide (5th Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Walsh D (2014) The nurse mentor’s handbook (2nd Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press/ McGraw Hill

Appendices:

REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Learning Outcome: 4

What?

Identify one aspect relating to the learning outcome and briefly justify this choice

Whilst the majority of students progress along their learning journeys, a part of the mentorship of students is to identify those that are struggling or not performing to the required levels. As Sibson and Mursell (2010) questions that not to manage them effectivity is undesirable to both the student and us as the mentor alike, and eventually could be harmful to our profession as a whole.

So What? Understanding the context

What have you learnt?  What have you read?  Relate this evidence to your practice

Mentoring can be a fully rewarding experience for all involved, though at times students could display behaviour that may be deemed unprofessional as they struggle with their studies. With others finally excepting to themselves that a career within the allied health care environment, may not be for them.

Wallace (2014) suggests that there are four main triggers of problematic behaviour within the student, with fear they could have a fear for failure compounding the feeling of loss of hope in that they will be unlikely to be motivated to learn if it is believed that they are unable to achieve the end goal.

Though Sibson and Mursell (2010) further suggest that additional outside influences could have a major impact on their studies, including trying to juggle academic study whilst completing clinical placements. With some students having difficulties managing personal home life issues, as they might be away from home for the first time and finding it daunting.

Furthermore Sibson and Mursell (2010) evidence multiply research studies which would suggest the clinical mentors are passing students in clinical practice even though they have not shown competency to do so, this is further supported by both Gopee (2015) and Walsh (2014).

Now What? Modifying future outcomes

How will you apply this knowledge in practice? Consider this in terms of developing particular skills, knowledge or understanding that the literature suggests are helpful but that you may still need to learn/develop

As I have considerable less exposure to either failing or problematic than some of my colleagues, though have a sound understanding the policies surrounding the management of these situations. That I am accountable for my decisions and to manage the situation in a tactful and confidential manner (HCPC 2014).

I could develop my skills in supporting these students by implementing the three step process for identifying and managing problematic behaviour in students as suggested by Sibson and Mursell (2010) adapted from Price (2006). This would entail good mentor communication skills between the mentor and mentee to clarify what the underlying cause of the concern is and explore it in great detail. Once this has been obtain the final step would be to create an individual learning or action plan for the student which is reinforced by Walsh (2015).

By creating this learning action plan, it is envisage that the student will have been given every possible assistance and opportunity to make adjust to their learning to enable to pass. If this is all correctly recorded and completed in a timely manner Gopee (2015) suggests that there is no reason to fear failing the student.

References:

Gopee N (2015) Mentoring and supervision in Healthcare (3rd Edition). London: Sage

Sibson L and Mursell I (2010) Mentorship for paramedic practice: is it the end of the road? Journal of Paramedic Practice 2(8): 374-380

Walsh D (2014) The nurse mentor’s handbook (2nd Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press/ McGraw Hill

Wallace S (2016) Raising motivation and improving behaviour. In Tuition The Journal for Professional Teachers and Trainers in the Further Education and Training Sector 25(16): 19

Health and Care Professionals Council (2014) Standards of education and training. London: HCPC

Appendices:

REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Learning Outcome: 5

What?

Identify one aspect relating to the learning outcome and briefly justify this choice

No matter how our students are progressing within their studies or even ourselves as we develop as mentors within our clinical environment, we may all reach a stage that unknowingly prevents us from further growth as demonstrated by the use of ‘Johari Window’ cited in Algiraigri (2014). By receiving open external feedback allows everyone to develop further?

So What? Understanding the context

What have you learnt?  What have you read?  Relate this evidence to your practice

Ross, Bennett and Perera (2015) acknowledge that students have remarked on the advantage of experiencing effective feedback whilst on placement from knowledgeable practitioners, they are able to spot any mistakes and improve their clinical competency.

Armitage (2010) suggests that feedback can be given as a constructive debrief following each incident or shift and is critical for the student’s constant development. He continues to cite Trafford (2003) as a believer that receiving feedback from patients is also an important way to improve their clinical practice.

Whilst delivering any feedback it should be precise and involve the student by encouraging them to recognise their own strengthens and areas of possible improvement. Though it should be conducted in a manner that is both constructive and motivational for the student, along with support and reassurance as required (Armitage 2010).

According to Warwick (2015) feedback should be productive and follow the GROW model in that it should have a Goal set and that goal should in Reality be achievable by the student within a set timeframe. It was also have Options on how to achieve it and What is required to accomplish the goal the allow them to move forward.

Now What? Modifying future outcomes

How will you apply this knowledge in practice? Consider this in terms of developing particular skills, knowledge or understanding that the literature suggests are helpful but that you may still need to learn/develop

Having an awareness of various barriers which reduce the effectiveness of any feedback could stem from timing and placement restrictions. In that a balance must be made from pressures to clear from one emergency job to be free to available to respond to the next call and seizing all the learning opportunities from the current job Armitage (2010). Furthermore being aware that feedback is not solely directed back at the student though to the various regulating bodies, the general service user and ourselves as a profession as a whole.

Thomson (2015) explores the findings that research suggests that as mentors we are becoming more multi-professional as subject matter experts and increasingly within the teaching and learning environment also. Having to be dedicated maintaining and developing both field of expertise, to ensure the best outcomes for the students.

References:

Algiraigri A (2014) Ten tips for receiving feedback effectively in clinical practice. Medical Education Online. [Online] 19(25141): 1-5. Available from: http://med-ed-online.net/index.php/meo/article/view/25141/34766. [Accessed: 10/10/2016]

Armitage E (2010) Role of paramedic mentors in an evolving profession. Journal of Paramedic Practice 2(1): 26-31

Ross L, Bennet R and Perera C (2015) Clinical placements: Putting theory into practice for paramedic students. Journal of Contemporary Medical Education 3(1): 2-5

Thomson A (2015) You’re once, twice, three times a professional. In Tuition The Journal for Professional Teachers and Trainers in the Further Education and Training Sector 22(15): 12-14

Warwick (2015) Centre for Lifelong Learning: The GROW model. [Online] Available from: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/cll/courses/professionaldevelopment/wmcett/resources/practitionerarea/mentoring/planning/grow/. [ Accessed 29/10/2016]

Appendices:

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