Mentorship Preceptors As A Means Of Improving Nurses’ Knowledge And Skill

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Abstract

The nursing and midwifery council (NMC) state that mentorship which involves a registered nurse or midwife is given responsibility of facilitating and assessing learning and supervising junior staff during their learning process. Nursing is a practical discipline which requires continuous development of knowledge and skills as this enables the learner to transform what has been learnt into practice. Despite efforts to improve the capacity building of healthcare workers, challenges remain in bridging the gap between knowledge and learning through the provision of quality clinical practice. Experienced healthcare professionals present with a wider range of knowledge and experience and are thought to be in position of transferring valuable insights to the learners by sharing the narratives from a macro perspective position.

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This assignment will evaluate the professional and personal reasons why I undertook the mentorship module from the leadership point of view. I will discuss the importance of a supportive learning environment in the workplace, and how essential it is both to the mentor and mentee.

Introduction

Mentorship and coaching is becoming a norm in the National Health Service. According to NMC code of standards of learning and assessment in practice (2008), mentorship and coaching has become a requirement for junior staff if they are to transform their learning into practical skills. Junior staff on maternity wards are not being supported well into leadership positions due to limited number of mentors and coaches on maternity wards. Although supervision of new learners in a clinical placement has become a professional obligation and central constituent of (NMC) for registered nurses and midwives, very few departments have implemented this. The National Health Service (NHS) view mentorship as being central in improving the knowledge and skills of junior staff in the delivery of their clinical practice in their place of work. In order to understand how mentorship can improve the knowledge and skills of junior staff on a maternity ward, I have undertaken the mentorship and coaching module to help me understand how my support can support junior staff teams to gain knowledge and skills to perform their tasks better on a maternity ward. This report will explore how important my role as mentor to a junior staff by looking at the way how I supported and facilitated the mentoring process. I will also identify my own personal development in understanding mentorship and coaching. In order to understand this assignment, different mentorship theories and how they support the learning process of junior staff through support of an experienced staff shall be examined. notes that if mentors and coaches work hand in hand with learners there is a possibility that the learner would improve on their skills hence delivering appropriate healthcare to women and their babies.

As a ward manager, on a busy maternity ward, I have always been passionate to support junior staff to move into leadership positions. Through the process of supporting them, I have come to learn that it helps me also to keep upto date with knowledge and skills throughout my career and through this process, I facilitate them to develop their own competence. I have a team which is divided into preceptors, Band 6, Band 7 and Band 8, and my mentee is among the band 6. I hope to focus my mentorship on supporting the learner to gain new skills and knowledge through training and supporting her. Teaching is considered as a very important step for health professionals. Junior staff who have received mentorship have commented that mentorship is more helpful than learning in class (Quinn, 2000). In order to link the process of mentoring and coaching to this assignment I will employ the skilled helper (Egan’s) model of counselling which is hugely influential in helping professionals. Egan’s Skilled Helper Model brings a number of new and challenging perspectives which bear on Egan’s work and makes a major contribution to the development of this problem-management and opportunity-development approach of support to the health care professionals.

 reported that most of the support rendered to staff in form of career development remain around supervision which is mainly centered around data collection, report writing and audit rather than supporting them to learn the systems of quality improvement and or improve on their skills so that they can become leaders in their places of work. But in order to support junior staff to learn more, the existing gaps can be bridged through mentoring and coaching intervention because mentoring and coaching are leadership qualities in healthcare. This is because they help to develop professional skills, knowledge and competences needed for a learner to become a manager.

With the introduction In nursing and midwifery there is often a critical role of on-the-job relationships in career development as a means to support each other. It is evident in a number of work settings the existence of informal developmental relationships, which occur naturally between less-experienced and experienced staff managers, peers, or subordinates. These relationships provide a variety of assistance including mentoring, feedback, counseling, coaching, sponsoring, skill-building, preparation for advancement, role-modeling, and reinforcement.

The role of a mentor as a nurse provides specific training which is able to facilitate learning, support and supervises the learner in a practice setting. Different authors report that mentoring is identified to be a subtle term that has existed for years in many disciplines however it continues to evolve.

The skilled helper model of counselling is hugely influential in the helping professions because it brings out a number of new and challenging perspectives. Val Wosket draws on over twenty years experience of counselling, training and supervising to provide a clear exposition of the model and situate it in contemporary counselling practice. Numerous case studies are provided throughout, along with contributions from experienced practitioners, illustrating how the model can be applied in a variety of clinical settings and with a range of counselling issues. However, the GROW framework helps to structure the coaching sessions (Whitmore,) GROW stands for Goals, Reality, Options, and Will. the coaches begin by asking exploratory questions to establish the overall goal of the coaching, and then sets objectives for the first session and subsequent sessions to meet the overall aims. this can be more difficult than it sounds as the coaches may not be aware of the reasons for the coaching or find it difficult to put it into words. Before starting to discuss goals, however it is important for the coach to develop a rapport with the coaches so that they feel a sense of trust.

The debate of mentoring and coaching of leaders in the healthcare profession has been identified as a need in waiting. Having an effective team of health professionals is increasingly becoming important to nurses, midwives and doctors within the National health care setting. Mentoring and coaching are not only important as part of continued efforts to support professional development but it allows the involvement of doctors and nurses in the care and provision of services. In order to attain a positive learning outcome, it is important to ensure that learning environment is practically, professionally and psychologically supporting to the team which is involved. In order to attain positive outcome from the learner, the learners must be placed in a clinical environment.

In the pursuit of the continuity to develop and support the healthcare service delivery, nurturing and supporting a new breed of leaders is one salient consideration. The academia and other practitioners have echoed the need to institute a mechanism for developing and molding future senior healthcare leaders. This is recognized to be an integral part of success in the healthcare field. Honaman, 2015 states that mentoring is a one-to-one, confidential and relationship-based arrangement where a mentee meets regularly with a mentor. Understanding the importance of role models and mentors in capacity building for leadership is highly recommended to support personal leadership development and abilities of others. This assignment is based on my experience of working on a maternity ward as a ward manager. The role of a midwife includes various responsibilities, and it is not only limited to looking after delivering women, but also include other responsibility such as documentation and medication.

Its clear there are limited mentor who can support junior staff on the ward where I am currently working. Initially I struggled to get a junior staff to work with because of my workload however because of the nature of my module I had to get one. However, within the first week there were junior staff who were recruited and I had to get one for my assignment. prior to taking up the student I had to perform a quick Strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs). this enabled me to set up my long and short-term goals. In order for one to know oneself, it is paramount to perform a SWOT analysis because understanding out skills and abilities provides awareness of our limits hence allowing me to act in professional manner.

During my engagement with the mentee I made sure that I remain current with the clinical policies, and practices as this does not only help the mentee but me as the mentor. for example, some of the tasks which I mentor my trainee is on medication and documentation of prolonged rapture of membranes. Not all women in labour who present with this condition receive antibiotics. Medication is only administered to women who show signs of infection and present with unexplained fetal tachycardia, maternal tachycardia or maternal pyrexia. Such clients are commencement on antibiotics and needs to be monitored as per protocol. Documentation is another area where I supported my mentee, according to the nurses and midwifery council documentation must be done for all the care that is given to the client at timely manner and in case the mentee is not sure of what to do he or she must escalate the challenge as soon as possible or must seek second opinion. My duty is to explain to the mentee the reasons why she must escalate the challenge in time rather than wait. Although the issue of documentation and medication has been part of the NMC code of conduct the preceptors continue recording in retrospective hence not being in position to report the information at it happens.

Leadership can be sustained through mentoring. formal training programs, internships and preceptorships provide a foundation and the experience to prepare for leadership roles and evidence-based practice. A ward manager can identify leadership qualities in a preceptor nurse and its her duty to develop or groom her through mentorship process by establishing the ground for leadership role. A talented nurse manager may recognize leadership qualities in a novice nurse and informally mentor or groom the new nurse by laying the ground for a leadership role. My mentee works hand in hand with me however sometimes she is asked to take charge of managing the handover process as a means of preparing her for great roles of increased responsibility.

in order to facilitate mentoring through allowing the mentee to learn through support from senior staff and the assigned mentor. learner will be supported not only by the senior midwives because it is thought that provision of feedback to the leaner helps him or her to. As part of my mentorship, I made sure that I build an ambient environment of building a trust relationship as this creates lasting professional friendship learning to staff mention. I also offer practical advice to the mentee on managing difficult situations. for example, during one of the session, she questioned me on nursing etiquettes, on how she is facilitated to get used to workplace and how to approach her seniors on medicating a client from theater. Trust in mentorship so important because it enables the mentee to ask questions freely during the process of mentorship. In my capacity as a mentor I make sure that I use my listening skills so that I am able to give required support to the mentee as required. Many researchers have shown that effective communication is closely related to the organizational successful and most important process of the management to run smoothly to share information, decision making and enhance the productive relationship with patients.

communication skills can be improved though a mentoring relationship. my mentee is responsible for communicating any challenges to the patient, their family and any other team work working along us while advocating on the behalf of the patient. I made sure that I don’t work alone with the nurse but I am able to team her up with experienced preceptors who may assist her to improve personal communication techniques. Allowing the mentor mentees to observe, participate and learn helps build confidence and as sense of identity

Background and discussion

mentoring can be viewed within the organizational context as a means to create a new class of leaders or competent professionals in a health setting, Stuart & Wilson (2015). Mentoring is therefore considered to be a ‘complex, interactive process occurring between individuals of differing levels of experience, exposure and expertise which involves both interpersonal and psychosocial development, and socialization functions into the relationship. This, therefore, makes it a one-to-one relationship for development and as a through a series of stages to help individuals determine both the conditions affecting, and the outcomes of, the process. This implies that the parameters of mutuality and compatibility which exist in the relationship have the potential to foster respect, professionalism, collegiality and role fulfilment will result. Hodgson and Scanlan further add that mentoring is applied to describe a form of employee development in which a trusted person uses experience to offer guidance, encouragement, career advice, and support to another person. It impacts on personal and professional skills and provides contextual feedback. For improved healthcare delivery, effective ways to sustain and develop leaders in the health sector have to be initiated. Mentoring is in this case identified as an invaluable tool that attracts and retains new healthcare professional as leaders. Mentoring provides a greater understanding of the healthcare system.

Lawrence & Woollacott (2018) consider mentoring as a relationship that exists between a mentor and a mentee. This could involve an older, more experienced mentor and a younger, less experienced mentee for the resolve of helping and developing the mentee’s career. It is further emphasized that a mentor may or may not be employed in the same organization as the mentee or be in the mentee’s chain of command or profession. This is the same view held by Hudson, (2016) that a positive mentoring experience is necessary and can happen in many different contexts or environments.

Mentorship in ward management within the health field can be looked at in different dimensions, but purposely for the benefit of the health practitioners and the clients that they serve. For a long time, ward managers have exercised mentoring in the health sector, this is because it’s a field that largely benefits from the wide experience of the senior colleagues by the new entrants. Healthcare is not about trying or guessing but rather doing the right thing that is expected of the trained practitioner. Doctors, nurses, ward managers or any other category of the practicing workforce in the health sector are held in high esteem, are trusted and relied on by the very people that seek healthcare services.

Role of coaching practice in healthcare

Managers within the health sector can benefit from executive coaching. Having a coach has become increasingly popular in provision of healthcare services. Ward managers can support coaching as a platform to guide others, work as a team, achieve and succeed together as they focus on work-related concerns of balancing home and work, learning appropriate work ethics, developing better managerial skills, executive personal and career development, and even managerial training to help managers become coaching to their employees. Coaching helps one to to get more of what he/she wants out of life, whether it be personal success, physical health, interpersonal relationships, or career planning. Thus, coaching creates support mechanisms to cope with fears, to be cheerful and a team player (Korhonen, 2018).

Coaching can be perceived as a personal-centered activity, dynamic and expanding as a workplace and community activity (Ross, 2015). A number of scholars’ advance that coaching is experienced to boost confidence and self-esteem; support career transitions; relationships; dreams and aspirations; getting your life in order and health and physical wellbeing. In this case, individuals come to appreciate that they are valued and this tends to have an immediate effect upon their motivation and therefore their performance. Coaching is thus used as a flexible approach that can used within healthcare facilities and environments where it is not generally possible to take whole groups of staff away for off-the-job, formal training.

Likewise, it can be used as a means to address pertinent issues as and when they occur. Health managers therefore get performance-related development in a more cost-effective and flexible way using coaching as a measure. Individual staff members come to gain practical and realistic help to achieve their full potential and work on their areas of weakness from coaching. Thus, coaching tends to be broader and looser and requires follow-up within the workplace if it is to be effective.

The role of coaching in healthcare facilities is to create confidence and boost self-esteem among people who present themselves for coaching and want to feel good about themselves: want to be more confident in social groups and to be confident to go out, meet new people and build acquaintances into friends. People with a low self-esteem, high self-doubt and consequently lack confidence. Coaching can be effective for tackling negative thoughts and lack of self-belief. Thus, in this case, sessions might include such practical activities as making small talk and/or giving speeches and presentations.

The role of coaching can also be extended to cover career transitions within the healthcare institutions. These are some of the aching issues that health workers find difficult to discuss especially wanting to change careers or even saying you are dissatisfied with the current job. For instance, there may be cases when a health practitioner may consider a major career change or starting his or her own business might consult a coach. Thus, redefining or exploring core values might be part of this process. In such scenarios, people feel freer to openly discuss issues about their job or working for the institution that they could not discuss with anyone at the same employer.

In healthcare centers, issues of relationships too exist. These can be problems or dilemmas if the practitioners are not helped to handle their life partner or other members of their family. Healthy coaching can only legitimately enter these personal areas when they have a direct impact on the work performance of the individual. Coaching can help people work through family and partner difficulties or simply help them cope with life’s challenges.

In pursuance of dreams and aspirations, sometimes people who have worked hard for many years, striving for material success, try to take stock of their lives. They find themselves saying things like: ‘There must be more to life than this.’ They may look around at their lives and find that work no longer satisfies them or they want to ‘do more with their lives’. Coaching can be helpful for finding new direction and purpose and helping people work out the important things in their life. Looking to have more fun, enjoyment or adventure are all topics that might be difficult to discuss with a line manager or business coach.

As part of my responsibilities I give practical advice to the mentee regarding management of difficult situations. the mentee may question the mentor regarding nursing etiquettes to facilitate his or her acclimation to the workplace, addressing concerns on how to approach their managers in regard to medicating a client who has just come from theatre assignments or schedules. trusting relationships create lasting professional friendships, which contribute to staff retention

Coaching within the healthcare facilities can be helpful in getting your life in order. Another aspect of people’s lives where life-coaching can be helpful is in creating some order and discipline. Many of us would benefit from ‘de-cluttering’ our homes or even our minds, using our time more effectively and generally becoming better organized. Managing our finances can also be included in this context, such as living within our budget, increasing our savings, reducing our outgoings, etc. Coaching can be useful for those suffering from procrastination or lack of focus.

Coaching is vital at promoting health and physical wellbeing of both healthcare staff and patients. More often than not, health professionals get obsessed about their body shape. Thus, as healthcare ward managers, it salient that we realize the need to consider addressing issues that affect colleagues. In this case, guidance is needed to sensitize fellow staff members on a healthier lifestyle, including giving up bad practices and behaviours. Coaching can be helpful in providing the motivation to quit bad practices or stick to routine exercises. Having a less hectic and stressful life is one reason for one to get a life-coach.

Sustainability of mentoring and coaching practices in healthcare

For effective institutionalization of mentoring and coaching practices, there is need to change people’s behaviors. This, therefore, requires a champion, or a group of champions. The active endorsement and encouragement of top management particularly where they emphasize the importance the role of mentoring to achieving institutional goals can have a major impact on success.

Sustainability of mentoring practice requires identifying clear needs that can be used as benchmarks for a successful mentoring practice. Scholars further add that gaps exist between research and practice which limits the applicability of mentoring. This, therefore, implies that mentoring practitioners need to be connected to practice in order to provide relevant research on new and emerging forms of developmental relationships that can effectively support the health sector. Sustainability of mentoring necessitates addressing all forms and categories of traditional practices of mentoring relationships. Mentoring scholars further advance the need to conduct meaningful research to be able to build approaches and theories to guide the mentoring processes.

Thompson, 2015 recognizes coaching as a highly effective way of accelerating development. As a leader there is need to consider a lot more of a significant investment of time and money. Efforts should be instituted to support individual coaching endeavors for leadership development. Though this is slowly taking root but surely has great potential to support professional coaches to help others assess their challenges, change their behaviors and become more authentic leaders. This revelation was made by Van, Martine and Graham (2017) who also added that small group coaching is one credible alternative to address similar challenges. It is even believed that having sustainable coaching practices requires systematic support of small group coaching as part of the bigger development programmers. Warm managers can effectively exploit this benefit in their administrative roles.

Conclusively, it can be pointed out that coaching and mentoring offer vast opportunities to health service organizations to develop leadership abilities and support workers. Mentoring and coaching have potential to increase interaction between health practitioners and senior management.

In the midwifery practice reflection is considered as an important aspect of improving leadership skills for healthcare professionals which enables them to pay attention on their feelings and skills. All healthcare professionals benefit from reflecting on their work environment because it lets them to pay attention on their skills and feelings.

My first meeting with the junior staff did not happen as planned because I had an emergency meeting with my supervisor however I did briefly introduce myself to her. she was welcomed and oriented briefly before I left for the meeting, ensuring she knew that she would be working with me. 

On reflecting I felt teaching session achieved all the objective set, and the trainer was able to demonstrate this to me in both verbal feedback and the self assessment sheet provided.

References

  • Garvey R Stokes P and Megginson D (2017). Coaching and Mentoring: Theory and Practice. 3rd Edition London: Sage. 
  • Megginson D, and Clutterbucks D, (2009). Further techniques for Coaching and mentoring. 1st edition, London.
  • Whitmore J, (2006). Coaching for performance, growing people, performance and purpose.3rd edition London.
  • Connor M and Pokora J, (2012). Coaching and mentoring at work, developing effective practice. 2nd edition, open university press, London.
  • Parsloe E and Leedham M, (2009). Coaching and mentoring, practical conversations to improve learning.2nd edition London.
  • Rogers J, (2011). Coaching skills, a hand book, 2nd edition, London
  • Bamford, (2010). Mentoring in the 21st century, London.
  • Allen and Eby, (2007). Blackwell Handbook of mentoring: multiple perspective approach. 1st edition, Wiley Blackwell e-book.
  • Connor M & Pokora J (2017) Coaching and mentoring at work. 3rd Edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Cox E, Bachkirova T and Clutterbuck D (2010) The Complete Handbook of Coaching. Los Angeles: Sage
  • Dembkowski, S. and Eldridge, F. (2003) ‘Beyond GROW: A new coaching model’, The International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching, Vol. I, Issue 1[Online]. European Mentoring & Coaching Council.
10 Jun 2021

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