The aim of this assignment is to demonstrate assessment as a factor that affects learning in placement areas. I am a qualified midwife who works for an NHS Trust but find it hard to deal with struggling students, through assessment. According to NMC (2006) the term mentor is used to denote the role of a Nurse or Midwife who facilitates learning and supervises and assesses students in practice places. I shall be referring to the standard of Assessment in practice.
As a qualified midwife, I know the importance of assessment but not very sure on how to go about it, yet to achieve a better professional of tomorrow, mentors need to master good ways of doing this. Assessment is something we do before undertaking any process of instruction and again at the end of a practice placement. It is however a way of collecting, measuring and interpreting of information relating to a learner’s response the process of instruction Hand (2006).
There are three ways of assessing used in health and social care formative, summative and continuous There are a variety of student, teacher and environment factors that can affect the quality of learning like, lack of assessment is one of those factors that affect learning Adult learning is a complex field with many different theories and can be daunting for mentors, however. Anderson (2011) states the need to have an understanding of intellectual, physical and attitudinal processes involved in adult learning to support and assess students in practice.
Most students nursing students will achieve the proficiency standards they need to register but mentors may be faced with students whose performance is weak, while these may be in the minority, evidence suggests that mentors find this one of the most challenging aspects of their role Duffy (2004). The NMC Standards to support learning and assessment in practice (2006) identified mentors’ responsibility in supporting and assessing nursing and midwifery students.
The standards emphasise mentors’ role in managing the failing students. Within pre-registration nursing and midwifery education programmes, clinical competence is verified via continuous assessment in practice. Mentors assess competence in practice and have a responsibility to confirm that students are capable of a safe and effective practice, NMC (2006). This requires them to identify underperforming students and manage the situation appropriately.
Duffy (2004) identified that one of the reason mentors ‘fail to fail’ students in practice is lack of knowledge of the assessment process. Students may react with anger/ aggression and denial, and may verbally abuse their mentor. They may react by blaming others, or even the previous mentor. Some students may be relieved and willing to accept a failed assessment. Failure can have a positive or negative outcome which is why some mentors may chose to avoid the assessment to avoid stress that is accompanied with failing a student.
Duffy (2004) also states that this can leave the mentor feeling sad, anger, exhaustion or relief. Although failing students may have emotional consequences on the whole team, it is important that mentors do not avoid these situations by passing them when they feel that they have not achieved the outcome required of them whatever the reason. CONCLUSSION I have enjoyed looking at assessment as an aspect of mentorship, as I had to look at my own practice; it has opened my eyes in prioritising what is important and what is not.
I have always known myself as someone who is not as assertive as I ought to be, and sometimes feel sorry or even scared of the reaction and thought I may end up passing a student who has failed. The NMC Code of professional conduct (2004) states that nurses and midwives on professional register have the duty to facilitate students of nursing and midwifery and others to develop their competence. By passing a failed student, you are not keeping to this code of conduct, and also by passing them; you are making your own work a lot harder as you will have to work with an incompetent professional tomorrow.