Reflective accounts

6Cs in mentorship

As a newly qualified mentor I found this CPD article informative and instructive.

As a newly qualified mentor I found this CPD article informative and instructive.

Picture credit: Science Photo Library

Each of the 6Cs of nursing – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment – were defined in the context of a nursing role and how they relate to practice. The article emphasised the importance of positive role modelling and advised mentors on which strategies to implement.

Engendering a sense of ‘belonging’ in nursing students in the workplace integrates care into mentorship – improving motivation, learning and confidence levels. Strategies include inviting students to make a pre-placement visit.

Compassion is demonstrated by exhibiting supportive behaviour, for example calling the student by name and encouraging and showing appreciation for empathetic care delivery. Encouraging students to reflect on emotional challenges in the placement area enables them to consider the emotional needs of others.

Familiarity with learning outcomes and a focus on areas identified by previous mentors are essential for competence, and show where further support is required. The use of up-to-date, evidence-based practice is important, as is the use of CPD activities in practice. The principles behind psychomotor skills – conceptualisation, visualisation, verbalisation, physical practice, correction and reinforcement, and retention – are aspects of learning skills which, when practised, should lead to competence.

Communication skills are fundamental to nursing, for the recording and relaying of information. The mentor should be familiar with the student’s learning practice assessment documents, keeping them up to date, discussing progress with team members and arranging learning opportunities.

The mentor requires courage to fail a student and to give constructive criticism. Courage is also needed when asking a student for feedback on your mentoring abilities.

When a mentor is committed to the student’s programme of learning – by conducting interviews at appropriate intervals, providing constructive feedback, being familiar with the programme, completing documentation on time, looking for ways to enhance learning and acting in a professional manner – this usually results in the student also becoming committed to learning.

Mentors should confirm the student’s ability to nurse and to become a registered nurse, emphasising the importance of the role of mentorship in the nursing profession.

I was familiar with some of the practical strategies for incorporating the 6Cs into mentorship practice, and I intend to use those new to me in my role as mentor.

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