Establishing effective working relationship is one of the domain in the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s core competencies which have to be achieved in order to become a mentor (NMC 2006) I will discuss the important aspects mentor needs to consider during the initial interview with my learner. This time my learner is a new member of the staff. On his first day, I introduced myself, orientated and welcomed him to the unit. Nickin and Kenworthy ( 2000) mention orientation to a new placement (in my case a new job placement) as a key issue in practice learning climate. Competency pack was discussed including all his learning contracts and eventually agreed to a one month supernumery status and regular meetings for evaluation. I tried to established a professional yet relaxed relationship with the learner. This enables the learner to be more comfortable. Spouse (1996) cited in Buttleworth et al ( 1998) highlighted that learning in clinical practice works best when mentors develop a caring and trusting relationship with the learner. Amongst the learning needs he identified was the familiarization of the fasting guidelines. Exploring that learning outcome, we have discussed that every learning outcomes should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound (SMART). The NMC in 2006 requires mentors to support students or learners in critically reflecting upon their learning. Knowles (1984) discusses the learner’s involvement in identifying their learning needs, mutual planning, formulation of objectives and helping the learners to carry out their plan. Initiating a day with an aneasthetist will give my learner an opportunity for more understanding of his learning needs, and eventually be able to confidently practice his learnings. Indeed it is true that there are vast learning opportunities offered if not, available in their new practice placement or a new job placement. But I always believe that it is largely the learner’s responsibility to capitalize on their learning opportunities offered to them. Saarikoski (2003) defines a clinical learning environment as a group of stable characteristics unique to a particular clinical setting that have an impact on the behaviour of individuals within the setting. Learning opportunities available in the placement of a new job were identified initially. Few of which are venipuncture skills, communication skills, learning surgical procedures in an in depth manner, and understanding and interpretation of blood results.
Thorell-Ekstrand and Bjorvell (1995) and Donaldson and Carter (2005 said, that clinical placement provides learner with optimal opportunities to observe role models, practice on their own and reflect on what is seen, heard, sensed and done. An initial performance review is set. This enables the mentor and the learner to review all learning needs were met and up to date. Considering any problems being encountered during the process. Considering learners weak and strong points. Miller and O’Brien (1986) identified that regular meetings and development of an action plan aids on going evaluation of the learners progress. Stuart (2007) states that, the initial interview or meeting is an ideal opportunity for the mentor to commence a facilitative relationship with the learner. Being a new member of the staff, I have to consider previous work experience. Stuart (2007) also suggest that an evaluation of the learner’s learning must be considered, as this will guide subsequent plans for learning.
I am confident that after considering all the factors during the initial interview, my learner will be able to adjust well in his new work environment. I have always been approachable and an open minded person. I am certain it will help me and my learner to work very well and produce a good if not an excellent outcome. Ogier (1989:37) stated that “facilitating learning cannot be divorced from competent management and humane relationship”.