Mentorship as an assessment exercise
Mentorship is an assessment exercise that is meant to help and guide nursing mentees in the application of theoretical k-knowledge towards achieving the objectives of their studies (Ali & Panther, 2008). A mentor refers to a certified nurse, whose responsibility includes assessing a nursing mentee's total performance, providing evidence that a particular mentee has achieved the desired objectives and competence, setting and supervising set objectives, and offering positive or negative feedback to the mentee and the institution (Duffy 2013).The assignment is going to discuss how a mentor will take a second year underachieving mentee through learning, teaching, and assessment strategies to support the mentee achieve a successful outcome. The mentee will be under the mentorship program for a period of five weeks under which the mentor will employ various teaching strategies and assessment plans to help the mentee. The mentor will employ different learning styles including different teaching strategies to help the mentee overcome his weaknesses in a practical environment and by use of theories learnt in the course (Othman & Amiruddin 2010). The mentee had been underachieving in the previous placement and the mentor is required to develop learning, teaching and assessment strategies to support the mentee achieve a successful outcome. The mentor will use the SWOT analysis, the VAK questionnaire, and different learning strategies/approaches to help the weak mentee (Sundler et al., 2014).
The very first meeting with the mentee need to offer an opportunity to mutually engage with each other and should be in an environment that is appropriate to both the mentor and mentee with minimal interference. The opportunity will thus give the mentee, an opportunity to comfortably engage with the mentor and establish a suitable rapport necessary for future engagements that will be aimed at earning the trust, improving communication, and making the mentee feel at ease with the mentor(Hodges, 2009).The initial meeting is very vital for both parties as it enables both of them to understand, connect, and engage with each other on a personal and mutual level (Swanson et al., 2017).Additionally, the first meeting will involve the mentor showing the mentee around the working premises, the wards, utility rooms, staff pantry, and any other important room that they will use and engage in all through the mentorship program(Hegenbarth et al., 2015). Additionally, the mentee will have the opportunity to meet other staff members and if possible a substitute staff member who may take the place of the mentor in case of absence. Through mentorship, the mentor teaches and passes to the mentee the professional proficiencies and understanding required in clinical practice (Hodges, 2009).The progression of mentoring is critical to the growth of both the mentor and the mentee (Hill &Sawatzky, 2011).
The SWOT analysis
The first meeting is critical as it enables the mentee on mentorship to develop confidence, feel at ease, within the environment and with all personnel within the facility.As an underachieving mentee, the mentor will take the first opportunity to engage with the mentee with some of the challenges faced in the first mentorship program.It will thus enable the mentor to understand some of the strong attributes of the mentee, weaknesses, and specific actions that will be used to practically engage in to overcome the situation (Robinson & Niemer, 2010).The procedure of helping the underachieving mentee will thus involve SWOT analysis, application of different assessment tools, self awareness, and the instilling of self-confidence. According to McBurney (2015), the mentor acts as a coach, problem solver, teachers, supporter, counselor, guide, organizer, and a planner. Through and by all these attributes, the mentor plays a considerable role in determining the education of future practitioners (Swanson et al., 2017).The mentor will guide the mentee by providing support and advice; also help the mentee to build up the confidence level and self-esteem during the five weeks of placement. According to Eckroth-Bucher (2010), it is vital to build and have self confidence, an attribute that is very critical in any mentorship program.
The SWOT analysis forms the main assessment exercise for examining the potential and capability of the two year underachieving mentee. Results can thus be used to identify some of the areas to prioritize and help the mentees use as a motivational tool. For instance, they can help the mentees to focus on their strengths and use available opportunities to overcome their weaknesses (Sawatzky 2009). During the annual appraisal exercise, the analysis can provide a strong tool for assessment in which the mentor uses the opportunity to analyze the capability of the two year underachieving mentee (Won & Choi, 2017). According to the assessment of the mentor, the mentee may show some attributes that may need improvement, enhancement, or total overhaul. Table 1 below indicates some of the attributes that may be uncovered during the SWOT analysis;
Good at practical and hands on work
Unwilling to grasp new concepts
Good time keeper
Organized and keen on details
Below average on theoretical knowledge
Good social skills
Mature and goal oriented
Lack of enthusiasm
Additionally, by application of the SWOT analysis, the mentor may discover some of the threats and opportunities that may open a window towards helping the two year underachieving mentee ready for the program. This may include the ability to discover hidden attributes that may be critical in overcoming some of the weaknesses. For example, if the underachieving mentee has the passion and willingness to learn, it is possible to use the appeal to help the two year underachieving mentee overcome some of the drawbacks such as lack of confidence (Cangelosi & Sorrell 2017). By use of the previous records of the mentee in the previous program, the mentor may develop an assessment program necessary to overcome the drawback such as a low initiative towards a task. The mentor would thereafter draw up a plan to overcome some of the weaknesses through an action plan that involves measurable, specific, relevant, and achievable goals (Hunt 2016).SMARTER objectives enable the mentee to take the goals, personally and also come up with an individual work plan (Won 2017).It will thus make it easier for the mentor to set up an achievable time limit for the five week program.
In addition to the SWOT analysis, the mentor will take up the cognitive learning approach such as simulation-based learning in which the two year underachieving mentee will be helped in overcoming low self confidence/self-esteem on aspects of nursing practice such as dressing a patient (Freeman & All, 2017). Using the simulation based learning the approach would assist the mentee master skills of self-confidence, and avoidance of errors while undertaking a given task (Sawatzky & Enns, 2009).Fully prepared, the two year underachieving mentee can then focus more on the pedagogy, learning style by learning through simulation to avoid common mistakes and building practical skills. Open discussion, exchange of knowledge, and ease of communication help raise the menteets motivation and morale in the entire exercise, thus overcoming weaknesses and threats associated with encountering challenging conditions (Robinson & Niemer, 2010). Putting into consideration the undeceiving two year underachieving mentee record, the cognitive learning approach remains a strong and dominant style that would help the underachieving style through and by improving the mentees self confidence and focus on learning new skills(Clynes 2008).All through the period, it is important to enable the mentee to take ownership of all engagements to help build confidence and self drive in both practical and theoretical aspects of the program (Cronin 2014).
However, according to Mestre (2006), there is no particular learning style for a mentee. Mentees learn differently and no favorite style is appropriate for all the mentees because of different cultural upbringing and preference (Mestre, 2006). The setting and style of teaching is especially sensitive while mentoring a year two underachieving mentee (Pianta & Hamre 2009). It is well regarded that the clinical learning environment directly relates to the quality of care and patient relationships in the practice of nursing (Papastavrou et al., 2010). Several areas in the clinical learning environment affect the learning of the two-year underachieving mentee. It may include the supervision and mentoring the mentee assigned, the culture, and characteristics of the unit, the staffing of the premises, the timing of rotations with the curriculum of the school, and the features of the mentee, and how mentee interacts with their clinical learning environment (Robinson & Niemer, 2010). While the learning is ongoing, supervision forms a very important component of the exercise. One on one supervision is important as it would help the mentee develop self initiative, confidence, and the ability to learn about oneself without the close need of the mentor (Patel et al., 2017).
The characteristics of the two year underachieving mentee affect how they interact with the clinical learning environment. They need to be eager to have sufficient skills and knowledge so they can get the most out of their placement (Jamshidiet al., 2016). Other non-clinical skills that will affect their interactions with the learning environment will include their communication skills, ability to curb and control their emotions, management of stress in the clinical environment, and the management of their confidence or self-esteem (Jamshidiet al., 2016). Furthermore, the two year underachieving mentee have the different pace at which they are willing to engage with their learning environment due to their comfort and their abilities (Cronin et al., 2014). How they view their clientele and also their preconceived notions and expectations of their work also can hinder their capacity to learn in the clinical environment, and it is important that they approach it with an open mind (Skaalvik et al., 2011).
For the five-week replacement, it is necessary and essential for the mentor to provide regular feedback with the two year underachieving mentee as feedback plays an important aspect of supporting the mentee in the clinical practice setting. The mentor needs to ensure the feedback is given in a reasonable time. When the mentor provides feedback to the mentee, the feedback must be truthful and genuine, but not superficial (Ketola 2009). Doing so ensures that the mentee will identify what the areas that need improvement further along the progress during the five-week placement (Duffy, 2013). According to Clynes and Raftery (2008), the feedback from the mentor to the two year underachieving mentee can be active and adverse. It should be an issue based and focused on the mentor's daily observations. The feedback meeting can be varied; the mentor can set it, like weekly, and it can be formal or informal. The mentor not only provides verbally, but also the feedback can be provided in the written form. During the verbal feedback, the mentor can write something such as Ineeds to develop documentation skill further It would be better to be more accurate to stress on the areas that need improvement (Robinson & Niemer, 2010).
It is vital for the two year underachieving mentee to have high self-esteem and self-awareness (Landa&LUGpez-Zafra 2010). It is a therapeutic tool when it comes to contact with patients. With the better understanding, the mentee will be able to understand other people better if the mentee is aware of his/her values, attitude, and behaviors. It is an ongoing process, and the mentee needs to continue to do self-evaluation and do reflection so that the mentee will learn from her/his weakness (Subia, 2015). When two year underachieving mentee is aware of herself/himself, the mentee will be in a position to provide patients with the highest quality of care (Eckroth-Bucher, 2010).
The VARK Questionnaire
The mentor will apply the VARK questionnaire to find out which learning techniques are best for thementee. VARK involve of visual, aural, read, and kinesthetic. Visual learning may be carried out by use of the multimedia equipments and materials. Additionally, for the reading, the mentor may apply and use reference books, printed notes, and or summaries of all the theoretical works they will undertake (Ali 2008). The mentor can explain the concepts by showing the diagram to the mentee, or the mentee can also learn through by listening to what the mentor instructs (D'Amore et al., 2012). The mentor can also use printed material for the mentee to learn or use the hands on approach. However, no matter which learning styles are applied, it is for the mentor to be aware that the learning styles did not judge or tell the mentor how smart or how capable the mentee is but to can help coach comprehend why mentee find some process simpler than others. (Alkhasawneh et al., 2008). The mentor can conduct an action plan for the mentee. There have few components of the action plan, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant time bound, engaging, and rewarding (SMARTER). The SMARTER goals will help guide through the mentee to meet the goals by the end of the placement (Macleod, 2013).
End of the Five Week Placement: Pass or Fail
At the end of the five weeks placement, the mentor will decide to pass or fail the mentee depending on the performance. A mentor may get frustrated and disappointed when dealing with an underachieving mentee. There are some factors, which may cause the two year underachieving mentee to fail her placement. It could be due to the mentee practice unsafely; attitude problem; equip with the skills and knowledge, but the lack of empathy and caring (Jervis &Tilki, 2011) In the case of failure, the mentor may recommend further mentorship or training in some of the failed areas or a repeat of a particular unit in the nursing units. However, the mentor needs to make it quite clear to the two year underachieving mentee the reason behind the failure, going back to the SWOT analysis as the assessment tool (Huybrecht et al., 2011). An amicable understanding is necessary between the mentor and mentee in the case of such as scenario so that both parties come to an understanding of the expectations of each. The mentor needs to be cautious not to discourage the mentee with strong and negative assessment remarks. Above all, the mentor needs to provide all the possible reasons as to why the mentee failed in the program (Ali 2008).
Reasons may range from lack of confidence, poor grasp of nursing practices, and low scores in the assessments. However, a pass calls for congratulations and extra motivation provided to the two year underachieving student to perform better and show exemplary profession in the nursing practice. In such a case, the mentor should conduct a formative assessment sitting with the mentee (Ketola 2009). The formative assessment will involve discussing with the mentor the expectations over the coming days and referring to some of the action plans they have covered as regards a given task. Formative assessment helps the mentee improve on self-confidence and build up of knowledge while at the same time focusing on accomplishing a given task such as dressing a real patient(Munk 2015). Additionally, towards the end of the five-week period, the mentor need to carry out a summative assessment that is meant to gauge a mentee's improvement on some of the weaknesses realized previously (Alkhasawneh et al., 2008).
Formative Assessment & Summative Assessment
The mentor needs to come out with a formative assessment meeting with the mentee in the final week of the program (Cangelosi & Sorrell 2017). During the meeting, two year underachieving student mentor and mentor will discuss the progress of the placement, what has happened for the past five weeks and what are the expectations the mentor is looking for in the overall performance of the mentee. In comparison, the summative assessment meeting will be held on the last week of the placement. It is meant to see if the two year underachieving mentee had achieved or failed the placement. Formative assessment focuses more on learning that needs feedback from the mentor and improving on the weak area that needs improvement; whereas, summative assessment stress on the judgment (Papastavrou 2016). During the formative assessment, the mentor can spend more time to explain clearly to the mentee the state of progression. If feedback is needed, the mentor needs to ensure the mentee get the feedback immediately, but not until the last week of the placement (Koh, 2008). At the end of the five-week assessment and mentorship program, the mentor should analyze and find a cause for the good or bad of the exercise. However, a completed and fully met criteria need to instill confidence in the mentor on the success of the entire exercise and the efficient preparation of the mentee for the practical part of nursing (Frei 2010). The would be contented with the work if the mentee passes and acquires the necessary skills during the program. If at all the two year underachieving mentee fails, the would go through all that took place from the beginning to the end, compile a report and check areas that could have been improved or changed. The mmentor would use the report to reinforce my mentoring skills for future mentees.
The above procedure shows a complete five week process of involving an underachieving mentee to improve and build on the necessary skills needed in the nursing field and as a graduate mentee. It enables the mentor to establish the mentee's learning style, application of different theories, and the use of necessary feedback tools necessary for success of the entire program.The above outline has given the importance of the mentorship program in addition to putting the mentee under a specialized and professional personnel all through the exercise. The mentor not only involved other people in the program, but offered the underachieving mentee the best environment and learning skills to overcome the noted weaknesses in that showed and may have contributed to the failure in the first program. Different learning styles, assessment, and techniques helped the mentor to work out the best ways in which the mentee would improve and better the learned skills.
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SWOT Analysis of the Mentee:
-Excellent Communication Skills
-Lack Of Confidence
-Poor Time Managment
SWOT Analysis of mentor:
- Caring, patience and helpful
- Be a good listener
- Long winded
- High expectations
- Opportunity to work with the institution
- cannot spend much time with the mentee
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