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Assess and Workplace as a Learning Environment

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This essay aims at assessing my place of work as a learning environment and identifies any changes I could make to improve it. Making sure a clinical setting is a learning environment is a key role of the mentor, according to research (e.g. Darling, 1984, Philips et al: 2000).Under the domain creating an environment for learning. The NMC (2006) indicates that the mentor should be competent in creating an environment for learning, where practise is valued & developed, that provide, appropriate professional and interprofessional learning opportunities and support for learning to maximise success for individual.

Nursing is a competence based profession and registered nurse or mentors are accountable for assessing students skills and knowledge in clinical setting (NMC 2008).According to QUINN (2002) describes clinical environment as a holistic nation involving the learner. I am currently working as a community nurse with the district nurse team. Our patient are mostly elderly patients, and most of the elderly patient have a range of physiological, psychosocial functional needs , multiple co-morbidities. They also have higher risk of hospital related issues, such as fall, pressure ulcers, incontinence, delirium, and malnutrition. (Miller, Sally K (2002). The team I work with provide 24 hours service, 7 days a week. The team work shift patterns, 7-3, 2-10, 9-5, 7 days a week.

My clinical environment is a busy place which my role as a community nurse is mainly attending home visit for patient, holding clinics, attending multidisciplinary team meeting. My work place is divided into many sections, health centre, G.P surgery, district nurse team, health visitor, occupational therapist and physiotherapist. In my work place we have training room and in this room we have books, guidelines and trust policies/protocols, NMC code of professional conduct. These can be easily accessible also via the trust intranet and can be viewed by student and staff member. On arrival of a new student, an induction programme and orientation of the clinical environment is provided. We issue welcome packs to students on their first day of placement to the unit.

The first welcome and orientation is crucial phase in helping the student get off on the right foot and make the most of their placement. According to Wheeler (2000) mention that orientation program is a good start to provide an effective learning environment. Placements are a stressful experience for first year student. (Stuart 2007). Students are introduced to the team and allocated a mentor and a co- mentor, working together to ensure continuity of guidance and support. For a learning environment staffs need to be competent with practice that is up to date (SPOUSE 2001).

A mentor is a registrant who has at least 12months post qualification experience, and who has successfully completed an approved mentorship programme. Once mentors have completed this programme, they will be on the local trust register of mentors. Mentors must have an annual mandatory update and a review of knowledge and skills every three years. Mentors also have to meet additional criteria of having a minimum of two students in three years. The foundation for been a mentor is in building a good relationship with the student by so doing it will help to reduce the usual anxieties of the student on a new placement.

“The Placements in Focus” document stressed that the environment should provide an area in which students can experience good quality care and treatment of patients. (DoH, 2001). According to Quinn (2000) the teacher’s careful planning can be undone if he/she neglects the environment within which session takes place. The potential of learning practice settings is essential and is a powerful media for changes, which affects the quality of patient. (NMC 2008) indicates that mentors should be competent in creating an environment for learning, where practice is valued and developed, that provides appropriate professional and inter-professional learning opportunity and supports for learning to maximize achievement for individuals. The unit has mentors who help students to achieve their leaning outcomes for their placement.

The key changes I could make to improve in my work place as a learning environment is establishing effective working relationships and creating an environment for learning. Communication is the key element towards a successful placement. (Cavanagh 2002). As a result, achieving effective working relationships can improve to be a challenging task if communication is lacking. (Wilkes 2006) Andrews and Wallis 1999, Paper et 2003, and Wilkes 2006. Supports that a mentor needs a variety of personal qualities to bring the placement experience, to be able to assess and teach the student in a meaningful way; therefore they are to have a maximum of two students allocated at one time. It is mandatory for each student to keep an ongoing achievement record, which is a document where learning attainments and comments from mentors are kept. It is a record of student’s involvement which allows mentors to identify areas of improvement and it can be used as a tool of communication between mentors, students and university lectures.

A good relationship provides a conductive learning environment that involves listening to students and valuing their opinions even if they differ from that of your own (Thomson 2006).I will encourage the student to ask questions and also express their learning through sharing in knowledge with the reassurance that they will not be put down if they are wrong (Wallace 2003).

To be able to motivate students through being positive and providing a warm and accepting environment and offering praise and encouragement to build upon confidence and self esteem (Walters 2005)

Nursing is a practical-based profession and to complete nursing training successfully a student must achieve both academic and practical experience (Department of Health 2002). Clinical environment remains a major part of nurse education (Launders 2000). Students will have the opportunity to work with different multi -professional teams. They will be attending home visits, multidisciplinary meetings. Good communication amongst the link tutor, placement manager, the allocated mentor and the other members of the team is a key to a positive learning environment. (Cavanagh 2002)


Cavanagh M (2002) Being a Mentor. Mentorship in Community Nursing: Challenges and Opportunities. Blackwell Science, Oxford. Department of Health (1999) Making a Difference: Strengthening the Nursing Midwifery and Health Visiting Contribution to Health. DH, London. Launders M (2000) The theory-practice gap in nursing: the role of the nurse teacher. Journal of Advanced Nursing 32, 6, 1550-6 Morton-Cooper A, Palmer A (2000) Mentorship, Perceptorship and Clinical Supervision. 2nd edition .Blackwell Science, Oxford Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2008) Standards to Support Learning and in Practice. NMC standards for Mentors, Practice Teachers and Teachers, 2nd edition NMC, London Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) code of professional conduct. London QUINN FM (2000) Principles and Practice of Nurse Education.4th edition Stanley Thornes, Cheltenham. Stuart CC (2007) Assessment, Supervision and Support in Clinical Practice.2nd edition Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh

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