Supporting Mentors and Students in Practice: Who's Who

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As an NMC mentor, you are a nurse or midwife who holds a current registration and has successfully completed an NMC approved Mentor Preparation Programme. Mentors are required to attend an annual update and complete a triennial review to enable them to remain live on their Health Care Organisations (HCO) register of live practice teachers/mentors.

Mentors play a key and vital role in the support and development of SCPHN students in practice. It is important that students are supervised by mentors who are positive role models and who embrace the values inherent within the NHS constitution. The quality of mentorship will very often determine the quality of a student's placement experience. It is your role to maintain professional credibility and, through working with a student, use your knowledge to supervise, advise and assist the Practice Teacher in assessing the SCPHN students.

If you do not hold a NMC mentorship qualification you can still support the development of a SCPHN student as long as you are an experienced practitioner, that is health visitor or school nurse and hold a current NMC registration.

Practice teachers
Practice teachers (PTs) are qualified specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN) who have undertaken an approved Nursing and Midwifery (NMC) programme of study to qualify as a practice teacher and who are on their Health Care Organisations (HCO) register of live practice teachers. It is important that students are supervised by practice teachers who are positive role models and who embrace the values inherent within the NHS constitution. Practice teachers are expected to attend an annual update to maintain their live status on the register and complete a triennial review every three years.

Practice teachers are vital to the development of SCPHNs. They are responsible for facilitating the 50% practice component of the programme and supporting and assessing practitioners integrate theory with practice.

Sign-off practice teachers
Sign-off practice teachers are identified by management within the Healthcare Organisation and supported by Anglia Ruskin University. Sign-off practice teachers are responsible for the summative assessment in practice before a SCPHN student can be put forward to register with the NMC. In order to become a sign off practice teacher there are key criteria that must be followed. Sign-off practice teacher need to go through an internal review within their own employer to ensure that they are on the local live mentor register, have been updated by attending a Practice Teacher Update session and have been supervised while mentoring a final year student on 3 occasions by an existing sign-off practice teacher.

Only sign-off practice teachers who are on the same part of the NMC Register and in the same field of practice as the student can confirm whether a SCPHN student is fit for practice and can be put forward for a recordable qualification on the NMC Register.

Personal tutors
Personal tutors within the SCPHN teaching team have been allocated to provide pastoral care to students on the SCPHN course. Part of this role is to facilitate routine link visits in practice. Each student will be given the opportunity to have a meeting with their personal tutor in the practice arena once each semester. These contacts will also provide the opportunity for students, P/Ts/ and mentors to discuss the student's progress with the HEI representative (usually the personal tutor).

Education champions
Education champions are Anglia Ruskin University academics who play a key role in establishing and maintaining effective communication links between the University, the clinical provider and other stakeholders such as Health Education East of England. In addition, they co-ordinate the educational audit process and chair the Practice Education Committee meetings every two months with the key education leads from your organisation. These meetings follow a standard agenda and include a review of student and mentor evaluations as well as external reviews such as the CQC.

Education champions work closely with the healthcare organisation/independent sector education lead to provide support such as drop-in surgeries, student forums and oversee the personal tutor support of their students in the practice area. Their contact details can be found at the top of this page.

Director of Health and Social Care Practice
The Director of Health and Social Care Practice is a senior academic who works with all stakeholders and commissioning bodies to support, maintain and further develop high quality practice learning opportunities for students.

Personal/Link tutors
Personal/link tutors are involved at the interface of education and service and are responsible for addressing any issues that may occur in the practice environments, such as student progress or safeguarding concerns. They are also involved in the audit of clinical areas to ensure the students are placed in a quality learning environment.

Personal tutors will arrange to meet with their students in practice for a minimum of once per substantive placement. (A substantive placement is any placement which is longer than four weeks. For midwifery/DN/HV students this is once per trimester)

Personal tutors will advise students of the date of their visit and students are expected to inform their mentor of the date of this visit. It is beneficial to student learning if mentors are able to be present for these progress meetings. It is important that Anglia Ruskin tutors work in close partnership with placement providers and this partnership activity is co-ordinated and monitored by an education champion.

Each Trust/organisation has an education champion who is the key point of contact between that Trust/organisation and the University to ensure the quality of the student practice learning experience.

Practice Team
The role of the Practice Team is to manage and co-ordinate student placements for Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Essex. They play a vital role which includes:

  • allocating students to the relevant audited clinical areas applicable to the stage of the programme
  • disseminating student nurse allocation information to a designated member of staff within the clinical areas
  • collating ward returns and monitoring student attendance including sickness and absence
  • working in partnership with mentors, clinical managers, education champions, personal/link tutors, Trust/healthcare organisation education leads regarding placement issues.