Research Output

Scoping Report of the implementation of the National Approach to Mentor Preparation: Core Curriculum Framework.

This project report will discuss the findings of a baseline/scoping exercise of
the National Approach to Mentor Preparation for Nurses and Midwives (Core
Curriculum Framework) (NES 2007) to six mentor preparation programmes in
Scotland. The baseline/scoping exercise was commissioned by NHS
Education for Scotland to evaluate the first phase of the implementation of the
Core Curriculum Framework (NES 2007) to prepare mentors in Scotland.
The project was completed by a collaborative group of lecturers and Practice
Education Facilitators from Napier University, University of Dundee, Queen
Margaret University, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Lothian.
· Establish a base line of current practice in the delivery of mentor
preparation programmes in provider institutions
· Scope the implementation of the national core curriculum framework by
HEIs and Service Providers when preparing local programmes of
mentor preparation
· Identify potential measurable performance indicators for an evaluation
Six HEIs were invited to take part, and six volunteered. Ethical approval was
sought from each HEI’s Ethics Committee. Following feedback necessary
changes were made to information sheets and consent forms as appropriate
and favourable ethics opinion was provided from each. No changes were
requested in relation to the interview schedule. Heads of Schools provided
management approval.
The baseline/scoping exercise study had 2 stages:
Stage 1: Documentary Analysis/Scoping Exercise of mentor
· Scoping of pre-September 2007 mentorship programmes
· Review and analysis of the post-September 2007 curriculum /
programme documentation within each HEI (n=6)
· Individual interview with mentorship programme leader within each HEI
A mapping tool (Appendix I) was configured by the Research Team, and each
mentorship preparation programme was reviewed. From this exercise, a
range of interview questions were formulated by the research team for use in
the next stage of the study (Appendix 2). None of the programmes had
reached its conclusion, and therefore there were no formal student evaluation
data available.
Stage 2: Interviews to develop deeper understanding of the
implementation process for post-September 2007
· Focus group interviews (n=7) with service staff (e.g. PEFs) and senior
lecturers/lecturers for each HEI
At each focus group interview, data were collected via recorded verbatim. A
total of 7 focus groups and 3 one-to one telephone interviews (due remote
and rural circumstances) were conducted. Thirty participants took part in
interviews: 6 Programme Leaders, 6 senior lecturers/lecturers, 1 mentor and
17 Practice Education Facilitators, from a range of nursing (Adult, Child,
Learning Disability, Mental Health) fields of practice, and midwifery. Each HEI
provided a Programme Leader and one senior lecturer/lecturer and between
2-5 Practice Education Facilitators to take part.
None of the programmes had reached its conclusion, and therefore there
were no newly qualified mentors available to set up such a focus group.
These data were constantly compared across the sites, with the literature and
current research in this area, in order to meet the aims of the baseline/scoping
Key Findings
In summary the findings indicate that the National Approach to Mentor
Preparation for Nurses and Midwives (Core Curriculum Framework) (NES
2007) was accepted and adopted over the 6 HEIs and their service partners.
The work was seen as invaluable to providing a programme and work-based
learning that was consistent and transparent – the main advantage of the
work seemed to be in the nationally recognised transferability of the
programme within Scotland. In other words, the movement of an individual
mentor from one area to another meant that HEIs/service partners were
willing to recognise this learning and place the mentor on their database.
There was a general feeling that the Core Curriculum Framework had
provided additional confidence in learning completed within other HEIs/workbased
portfolios where the HEI had used the Core Curriculum Framework as
a basis for their programme development.
Review of pre-September 2007 programmes demonstrated that these
programmes varied in nature of delivery, their underlying philosophy, and the
length of the programme. For example, in some HEIs the programme lasted 2
days while in others it lasted 3 days with additional written work required.
The Core Curriculum Framework had flexibility to respond to the diverse and
changing context of learning by developing innovative and appropriate
approaches to, and choices in, learning, assessment and supporting students.
This is demonstrated in the concepts that were very similar across the
programmes such as:
· mentors were developed as facilitators of learning;
· mentors were developed in such a way that they learned about guiding
and supporting the learner using a variety of learning, teaching and
assessment approaches applicable to the work-based environment;
· the discussion and use of the mentor, and their professional
judgement, in ongoing learning opportunities within the clinical
environment and robust assessment of the student; and,
· there was an emphasis on the development of a collaborative support
and assessment process between the student and the mentor.
A recurrent theme within the data was that of increased emphasis on mentor
accountability and the image of mentorship within the nursing and midwifery
professions. All focus groups commented on these themes as the major
differences between pre-September 2007 mentorship programmes to those
developed to address the NMC Standards to Support Learning and
Assessment in Practice (2008).
There were also concepts in which there were differences in emphasis or
usage of the Core Curriculum Framework content within mentorship
programmes, which was often as a result of the need to respond to the local
needs of the area. For example, concepts such as the usage of the
framework’s learning outcomes; the ‘prescribed’ versus ‘unprescribed’ nature
of the portfolio of evidence; the accredited and non-accredited pathways
through the programme; the criteria used for allocation as a supervising
mentor (i.e. those involved in supervising student mentors); and the extent to
which the flexible and fixed elements of the framework were used.
Recommendations and Further Research
This report on introduction of the Core Curriculum Framework encourages
further development and research on the future of mentorship preparation and
practice in Scotland. The collegial nature of decision-making and
development of the Core Curriculum Framework to such preparation suggests
that there is strong ‘buy-in’ to the concept of transferability of learning, and
overall programme philosophy.
Future development of mentorship preparation and practice in Scotland: the
findings suggest that staff from HEI and their practice partners, would value
future developments, such as:
o Sharing good practice on learning, teaching and assessment
approaches to mentorship preparation (e.g. conference, online
o Sharing good practice on learning, teaching and assessment
approaches to mentors’ annual updating and triennial review
o Continue with a national network for mentorship to encourage this
collegial nature of working especially among programme leaders
o Set a date for framework review in light of experience from
implementation of mentorship programmes and any further evaluation
study findings
o Consider and develop a national template for portfolio structure,
available electronically or hard-copy
Measurable performance indicators for an evaluation study: the findings
suggest that further evaluative work could be carried out, with the following as
main categories for measurable performance indicators:
o The impact of the framework on the standard of support and
assessment for pre-registration nursing and midwifery students
� Pre-registration students who have experienced
mentorship before and after the framework’s
� Mentors’ perceptions and experiences on how well they
felt the mentorship programme prepared them for
mentorship practice
� The number of mentors completing the programme
annually and completing triennial review across Scotland
o The impact the framework has had (or not) on the image of mentorship,
and the understanding of the role, within the nursing and midwifery
� Perceptions of mentorship preparation and the role of the
mentor at strategic and operational levels of the HEIs, the
NHS and other service partners
� Extent to which the mentorship role has been integrated
into the KSF outline Personal Development Plans,
Clinical Education Career Pathways and performance
review for practice-based staff in Scotland
� Perceived influence the framework has had on AHP
professions considering/implementing similar support and
assessment systems for pre-registration students
o The extent of transferability of mentorship preparation
� Experiences of mentors who have transferred
� Case study approach to compare a sample of portfolios
of evidence between institutions

  • Type:

    Project Report

  • Date:

    30 November 2008

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    NHS Education for Scotland

  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    610.7 Medical education, research & nursing

  • Funders:

    NHS Education for Scotland


Donaldson, J. H., Irvine, L., McArthur, G., Millar, L. & Moffat, A. (2008). Scoping Report of the implementation of the National Approach to Mentor Preparation: Core Curriculum Framework.


Mentor preparation; support; nursing education;

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