Nursing students in their first clinical experience often encounter stressful situations and face unique challenges. To help students prepare for their transition into practice, both faculty and nurses in this clinical setting need an in-depth understanding of what nursing students are thinking and feeling in their first-year and their first placement of their first year within the academic program. This reflection was conducted to explore the cognitive and emotional responses of first-year nursing students during their first clinical experience. This consideration aims to recognise the student’s issues experienced during possible placements, including being aware of the human vulnerability, feeling the responsibilities as a registered nurse (RN) responsibility, recognising limits, evaluating self, seeing the patient/family perspective, confronting ethical issues, and facing reality versus expectations. These findings help myself as mentors in education and practice more fully understand the problems that students face in preparing for practice and may lead to strategies to smoothen the stressful transition from being a student to becoming an RN.There was a situation that, I highlighted the importance of practical preparation of first-year students. It was necessary to mention this to enhance teaching and learning opportunities for student and mentor during their placement.
Additionally, it shows the personal and professional development of the mentor and the promotion of positive partnerships between students nurses and all health professional in the clinical placement.Definition of mentorInitially, I would like to introduce the best description of a mentor I found to understand my role as a mentor.”To support and encourage individuals to manage their learning so that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve theirperformance and become the person they want to be” (Parsloe, 2009.)What does a mentor do?· Help the mentee, as a new employee, researcher or student, to settle into this setting.· Aid and support the mentee through certain development programme, by talking issues through to help the individual get a clearer image of themselves and visualise how they progress.
· Provide help and support my student with identifying opportunities that will help them excel as themselves and as professionals.· Help the individual develop the confidence to tackle the problems and issues they will encounter in their working life.(From “Developing People Through Mentoring”, G Wilcox and S Morris, FT Professional, 1998)What was the issue?The student in this reflection, had her name changed to maintain the confidentiality of Mary according to the NMC. Mary was allocated to endoscopy as her first placement. Unfortunately, I could not meet her in the first two weeks of her introduction and initial assessment in the unit due I was on holiday.
Colleagues were looking after her, on my return the issue starting flair up; the problem was about Mary’s attitude.When I met Mary, she broke in tears and told me how stressful she found her first placement; I had spent my time and gave her the opportunity for her to feel comfortable to express herself and explained the situation. I showed my interest as her mentor and offered all my support to deal with the situation.My student was level as “ATTITUDE” which I was concerned, and also, the NMC has stated that mentors are responsible and accountable for”Assessing total performance – including skills, attitudes and behaviours.”(NMC, 2008a.
p 19) I do believe that attitude plays a principal role in guiding students behaviour toward achieving goals, awareness of its consequences and effective learning processing of becoming register nurse. Referring to my own experience I had as a newly qualified nurse; I do believe that low morale of the nursing students results in the lack of motivation and eventually dropping out of school in this field. And familiarising them with the nursing profession and modifying negative attitude before entering this field has been emphasised to boost their morale, especially with a student been label as the bad attitude. To improved students’ performance followed by a positive outlook and learning, satisfaction will enhance the quality of patients’ care and increased productivity in the learning experience.