Supporting and assessing nursing students: your role

As a mentor, it is important to ensure that students:

  • Are supernumerary
  • Are on the duty rota for health and safety reasons
  • Actively engaged in hands on delivery of care as appropriate
  • Have a named mentor who is available for a minimum of 40% of the time
  • Participate in the 24 hour cycle of care

At the same time, we do acknowledge that students have responsibilities. These are clearly stated in their practice assessment booklets.

The mentor's role in student assessment

The assessment process must contain the following stages:

Supporting the failing student:
Occasionally, students do not meet the required standard and it is necessary to fail them. In this event, it is important that students know why they have not met the pass criteria and that they have been given an opportunity to improve at the formative stage. It is therefore essential to;

  • Have robust and transparent processes in place
  • Investigate why your student may be having difficulties
  • Compile comprehensive documentation as evidence
  • Use support networks (See Supporting Mentors and Students in Practice)
  • Pick up problems early
  • Use Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely, (SMART) objectives
  • Set clear review dates
  • Make clear action plans

See below documents for examples of completed action plans

Cause for concern
If concerns still continue following the review of an action plan, it is important to fill in a 'Cause for Concern' form which you will find in the student's practice assessment booklet.

This form must not be removed from the document. For an example of this and the process to follow please see our Flow Chart document. It is important that you have discussed your concerns with the student and supported his/her development with an action plan before completing the cause for concern form. Exceptions to this are when there is a serious untoward incident when the HEI must be informed immediately and a cause for concern form completed. Constructive feedback is essential for student development. Do not wait for formative or summative stages to inform a student of your concerns.

It is essential that evidence is provided to support your concern when submitting a 'cause for concern' form to your education champion.