This assignment will provide a reflective account of a student placement within the community setting. The reflective model Kolb’s learning cycle (1984) is often referred to in describing experimental learning and can be used in any learning situation. Reflective practice is important to the development of Mentors as professionals as it enables us to learn from our experiences of teaching and facilitating student learning. Dix and Hughes (2004) recognise that students and learners can benefit from reflective practise. Jasper (2003) also identifies that reflective practise is an essential tool for student nurses to make that very important link between theory and practise. It will also highlight the role of the mentor and look at how the learning outcomes of both the mentor and the student were achieved. According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2008) the term mentor is used to highlight the role of a registered nurse who facilitates learning and supervises and assesses students in the practice place. They also identify the eight mandatory standards that must be achieved to become a mentor, and within the assignment I shall be referring to the Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice; NMC standards for mentors, practice teachers and teachers, and identifying the standards that mentors require. I am a staff nurse working as part of a busy district nursing team within the community setting. I have 5 years experience as a nurse, as I mentee I will be under the supervision of my mentor who is also a staff nurse with over 20 years experience. Who has over 7 years experience as a mentor. The student that has been allocated to my area of work is a 26 year old women who is at the beginning of her 2nd year, she has previously worked with the health visitor and In a nursing home setting. Before starting her training she worked as a carer in a nursing home setting which has given her confidence and personal experience outside her nurse training. I will be outlining the students journey whilst on their placement and How I, with the support of my mentor provided a constructive and nurturing learning environment for the student to develop and meet her learning outcomes. To ensure the student has a positive learning experience it is important that the learning environment is supportive for the student and those who work in it . Clarke et al. (2003) makes reference that learning in the clinical environment is very highly valued and this places several demands on clinical areas and staff. The clinic in which I am based has a wealth of mentors and nurses with vast experience.
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It provides a positive and supportive learning experience to students who are placed with the district nurses. Although the clinic can be unpredictable clinically and tend to have heavy workloads. We have a resource room for students and the staff are always interested in and aware of the students experience whilst on placement. Our initial meeting took place on the students first day of the placement I issued her the clinics student nurse orientation / resource pack. This provided her with all the basic information about the clinic and the different members staff within the team. Also within the pack was a copy of the NMC guide for students of nursing (2005) for her to keep referring back to, this was to provide a good introduction into the learning environment that she would be in during her placement. Cahill (1996) acknowledges that the single most crucial factor in creating a positive learning environment is the relationship between staff and the student nurses. She also discusses a common problem which arises for students is that they are regularly unable to work with their mentor, so during our initial meeting we discussed and planned her time table taking into account any study days she may have. Kenworthy and Nicklin (2000) comment that the more comfortable and welcome a student feels within the working environment, the more likely it is that effective learning will take place and the student will become motivated to learn which is a key factor in successful learning. During this meeting we also outlined her learning needs and establish a learning contract . A learning contract is a short agreement in writing between the mentor and their student used to ensure learning objectives and module outcomes are identified and met throughout the placement (Lowry 1997). Downie and Basford (2003) believe that to identify the learning outcomes at the beginning for the placement is of great benefit to the students. In the learning contract the student outlined she would like to develop skills in the technique of administrating injections. She also expressed an interest in learning the role of a district nurse. It was important for me to know where in her training the student nurse was so I could plan with her effectively when supporting her in the clinical setting. A frequently used taxonomy in nursing is the framework by Benner (2001) in which are five levels; novice, beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. According to Benner’s stages of clinical competence which shows the journey of a novice to an expert my student appeared to be an advance beginner as she shows understanding of the NMC code of professional conduct and has some previous work experience which some students in the same year on the course may not have. Honey and Mumford (1992) explore four different styles of learning which is a variation on kolbs model. It is thought whenever possible, it is essential to allow the student’s individual style of learning determine your choice of teaching. In seeking to explain kolbs model there are four different styles of learning they describe activists, pragmatists, theorists and reflectors. They also mention that although many people can be a mixture of the 4 styles they primarily had a preference for only one. When establishing the learning style of my student I became aware that she was an ‘activist’ and also ‘reflector’. Preferring to observe and gain understanding of the theory and evidence based practise. Then showing a very hands on and experienced approach it became very apparent she preferred to be practical and experimental once she became comfortable with her surroundings. As outlined in her learning contract she was keen to meet her clinical outcome for administrating injections. The NMC standards for mentors (2008) states that students must spend forty percent of their placement with their mentor. This presented a problem as I had a numbers of annual study days which were mandatory and I had to attend. I discussed this with the student and explained other members of staff would oversee her learning outcomes whilst I was attending courses. This would be arranged well in advance so she knew who she would be placed with. She felt this arrangement was suitable as she would be given a chance to work with members of staff with differing experience and skill mix. This would also highlight the diversity in district nursing. I also felt this would enhance her experience within the team making her feel more comfortable with all the members of the team. Beskine (2009) suggests that starting off with a positive approach promotes the students experience as well as the quality of the placement. It was found by Pearcey and Elliot (2004) that students who have had negative experiences with their mentor and placements tend to leave the course before qualifying. Spoke placements with members of the multidisciplinary team were also discuss at this point and I gave her a list of recommend contact numbers and details.
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