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Title: What impact has the introduction of the ongoing achievement record and sign off mentor had on the robustness of mentors' assessment practices?
Author: Royal, Jan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 9741
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2017
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This study investigated the impact of two changes on the assessment of student nurses in practice in one University in England; the introduction of the ongoing achievement record and the development of the sign off mentor role (NMC, 2008). As contemporary literature showed nurse mentors were failing to fail student nurses, these changes to assessment in nursing practice were introduced (Duffy, 2003; Gainsbury, 2010). A literature review was conducted to identify key themes in the nurse mentoring literature and led to the research question for the study; What impact has the introduction of the ongoing achievement record and sign off mentor had on the robustness of mentors’ assessment practices? Using a qualitative interpretive methodology, a two phase study firstly examined forty six assessment records for forty students who had failed in practice. These were examined for common issues and themes before semi structured interviews with eight mentors were completed as phase two, to ascertain links between what assessment documents showed and how the mentors felt these changes had affected the assessment of student nurses. Four themes were drawn from data from both phases of the research: Using the assessment documents, failing a student, accountability and the sign off mentor and finally mentor assessment of behaviours and levels of progress. Data was used to support a discussion on each of these themes. It was found that the introduction of the ongoing achievement record (OAR) has had a positive impact on mentors and the quality of assessment practices as mentors use prior records to inform their role. This was reliant however on prior mentors’ commitment to completion of the document accurately, which was variable. The introduction of sign off mentors was shown to have a negative impact on the robustness of assessment practice. Mentors were reluctant to become sign off mentors due to the perception of the increased accountability. Mentors interviewed identified that mentors earlier in the programme were delegating the assessment decision to the sign off mentor as the accountable gatekeeper. This reduced the reliability of the mentorship process and it is recommended that this role should be removed and instead support for novice mentors should be given by experienced mentors to ensure robust assessment takes place. An emerging theme showed that mentors assess students throughout their nursing programme for key values and behaviours required to be a nurse. This strengthens the profession at a time when it has been under fire in the media for lack of compassion and care (The Patients Association, 2011). It is reassuring for the profession and the public to see that student nurses are assessed consistently against these values as part of their course. Use of the OAR alongside the impact of sign off mentors and assessment of values and behaviours had not been found in prior literature. This study presents these findings as new knowledge and they will be used to guide local strategy on mentorship models and ensure new mentors have access to experienced mentors. They will also be disseminated nationally to enable other educators and the Nursing and Midwifery Council to become aware of this evidence base for the OAR and sign off mentor in order that they can explore changes that may be needed as they revise their mentor standards to improve the assessment process and mentor support for nursing education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RT Nursing