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Readers panel: Should mentors for nursing students be replaced by supervisors and assessors?

As part of a radical overhaul of nurse education by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, mentors for nursing students could be replaced by supervisors – responsible for supporting students’ learning – and practice assessors, who would confirm students’ learning but not take an active role. Nursing Standard readers have their say. 

Under a radical overhaul of nurse education by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, mentors could be replaced by supervisors, who support students’ learning, and practice assessors, who confirm learning but do not take an active role. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Mentors may be replaced, but would a different system be any better?
 Picture: Science Photo Library

Beverley Ramdeen is a senior lecturer in adult nursing at the University of Hertfordshire

Mentorship is synonymous with nursing students’ learning. Yes, it is a flawed system, which is highlighted by concerns around mentors ‘failing to fail’ students, but the proposal from the NMC to replace the mentor role with two new roles, supervisors and practice assessors, seems short-sighted. Which staff will be taking on these roles, and what strategies will be in place to ensure this approach is not fragmented? I cannot visualise how this long-armed approach will provide better support for nursing students.


Lauren Ferrier is a nursing student in Aberdeen 

My initial reaction to this was negative, possibly because there is a lot of security in knowing exactly who is responsible for your learning and who to speak to if you are in need of support or guidance. However, I can see that this move might take some of the pressure off; mentors have to do their job, teach their student and complete all the paperwork that goes with this. My primary concern is that there may be role confusion, which would affect nurses and students.


Daniel Athey is a charge nurse in Sheffield 

This feels like a rebranding, and entirely misses the point. Many students come on placement ill-prepared for the harsh realities of nursing, and re-naming mentors isn't going to change that, or the nature of the job. As the focus continues to shift towards academic qualifications, I feel things will continue to become more difficult. I also feel students get out what they put in – placements and mentors will vary, but isn't that very diversity part of the journey of being a nursing student? 


Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London

How will splitting mentorship into two separate roles work? Practice supervisors would likely end up doing all the work without seeing the fruits of their labour, and if practice assessors only assess a student once or twice, they won’t know how that student delivers day-to-day patient care, so how accurate can their assessments be? Mentors face a lot of problems working with students, but I don’t see how throwing it all away and replacing it with something so different and untested will solve these prblems.

Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 


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