THE IMPORTANCE OF WBL AND PEER MENTORING
Mentorship is one of the fundamental components of nursing education and nursing practice. Its significance ranges from supporting practice and enabling learning. With the improvement in Information and communication technologies (ICT) Learning can be facilitated through online means and also peers utilization. Since the mentoring process is essential in nursing education and the use of ICT, as well as peer involvement, makes the process feasible thus facilitating the learning process. This is why mentoring is important in nursing and other healthcare practices.
Therefore, this section will explore the basic and practical ways in which ICT can facilitate learning. Furthermore, use theories and models to discuss and examine the relevance of peer mentoring in learning facilitation.
Mentorship is a process by which an experienced/ expertise or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced one become competent through guidance and monitoring. Whereas, a mentor is an experienced professional that assists the novice one to grow in knowledge and experience. Through advice, guidance and assistance from a real-world point of view. This process requires much communication and is more relationship-based.
In education, mentorship is a program designed to assist the students in confidence building, course completion and transitioning to advance education or workforce. The peer mentoring program is designed specially to assist the under-represented population to be in line with the institutional expectations. The improvement in ICT has made it possible for graduate students and the current student to engage in the career mentorship process through online interview questions and answers.
WAYS OF FACILITATING MENTORING PROCESS AND LEARNING
Basically, the best tips to bear in mind about mentorship are incorporated into this acronym
M- Motivates mentee to accomplish more than required
E- Expect the best out of the mentee
T- Tells the mentee only but the truth even when it hurts
R- Really cares about the mentee and his success.
More so, credibility is one of the ways of becoming a good mentor as mentors of this calibre have personally attained success and can provide mentees with the appropriate support. Many people always seek guidance from different people. To help them develop particular skills or assist them in strong decision making.
The act of credibility in mentorship doesn’t necessarily mean that the mentor should have all the answers. Moreover, the application of wisdom and common senses will give them better support in that situation.
Being a positive role model, most mentees respect their mentor because of this quality. Additionally, observation, most mentees learn certain skills from their mentors based on how they behave and react to that situation. Except for reflexes, we do not possess inherent behaviours from birth, therefore learning takes place through observation.
In the healthcare environment, mentees acquire and learn practical skills from their mentors and other healthcare professionals through; observation of skilled performance, mental retention of the skill, motor reproduction of the skill, reinforcement and adoption.
Good mentors can build learning by this through acquiring knowledge and experiences. And also creating scenarios that will enable their mentees to get involved in the learning of new things. For example, portraying a look behind the scene or hint at how other people do things.
Learning can take place when there is an interaction between the previous and new knowledge. This means that there is a need for mentors to be able to ascertain the prior knowledge of the mentee to achieve a positive outcome in the mentoring process. This concept is in agreement with the idea of the zone of proximal development.
This explains that a preceding knowledge is already in existence in an individual’s learning needs. Therefore it is the responsibility of a mentor to identify and hitch the mentee’s learning needs.
Additionally, as there is an increment in the multi-cultural learning system more especially in the US. Mentors need to be able to identify and understand some of the cultural factors that could influence and facilities the mentee’s learning process. And also develop an effective learning plan to meet up their learning needs.
Impact of good learning environment
Furthermore, a conducive learning environment plays a significant role in mentoring and learning process which has much impact on the outcome of the process. This can include both the classroom and web environment. However, according to Maslow’s basic human needs, individuals always thieves for a better environment where they are safe as the lack of safety and security can have a detrimental effect on the learning process.
Therefore this gave me an insight into how safety and a conducive environment more especially in classroom learning can enhance scaffolding to the learners and thus facilitate learning.
Meanwhile, the importance of effective communication in the learning environment can never be overemphasized. Although a lack of a conducive learning environment tends to bridge communication, thus affecting the learning process.
Moreover, the advancement in the ICT has positively influenced the mentorship process as well as teaching and learning. In the contemporary education system, many institutions and organizations are now operating on this platform which has been proved to be helpful in the facilitation of teaching and learning.
This has consequently led to the innovation of many technologies in the education system today that allow online or web-based learning which is very common in the contemporary teaching and learning system.
However, web-based learning does not allow learners to fully express themselves in the process as it does not share the same characteristics as classroom learning, which in turn questions its applicability in the mentorship process. Although could be much helpful in the entrepreneurship process. Nevertheless, a face-to-face method of learning remains the ultimate in mentorship.
Additionally, taking into account the domains of learning according to Bloom’s taxonomy healthcare mentors must try as much as possible to collaborate on the three domains that were necessary for the delivery of knowledge and skills.
Meanwhile is necessary for mentors to put into consideration professional ethics and values when mentoring their students. The affective domain of learning incorporates more of morals and values development and can be applied here.
Due to the growing complexity and demand in the healthcare system and the need for quality of care as well as professionalism, there is a need for mentors to put into consideration knowledge and professional values. And ensure that they are in alignment during the mentoring process.
PRINCIPLES OF PEER MENTORING
Peer mentoring is a social learning process whereby students are engaged in active learning through social and online means. Moreover, it can be a useful method to address the difficulties in the clinical facilitation and learning process. Meanwhile, peer mentoring allows a student-centered style of learning. Which has been viewed as an effective method of learning. Therefore the principles of peer mentoring lie in; Establishing effective working relationships.
The supervisory relationship between the mentee and mentor is vital and a powerful factor contributing to the learning experience in the clinical environment. However, the beginning of this process used to be a bit challenging as both parties might be new to each other. Hence, need to create a good communication link that will enable them to gradually develop a rapport and be able to cultivate a working relationship.
Rapport here means a state of profound spiritual, mental or emotional link between individuals including empathy and understanding. Whereas, relationship means the state of being related or an emotional connection between two individuals. Thus this becomes an integral principle of peer mentorship and was recognized in healthcare settings globally.
Peer mentorship is also all about the facilitation of learning. This can be achieved by drawing experience and knowledge from different sources such as theory, evidence base, feedback, observation analysis reflection and critical thinking. Working with multiple agendas such as team, individual and task to make sure that the practice of facilitation is still within the contracted purpose.
More so, effective application of different learning styles and learning needs of various people can as well promote or facilitate learning. Furthermore, the use of reflective practices to critically review and analyze one’s practice has been found helpful in facilitating learning.
Correspondingly, assessment and accountability is a very important aspect of peer mentorship (RCN, 2009). Application of these allows the mentor to determine whether learning has taken place in the mentoring process and also areas for more emphasis to be laid and also make them aware of their mentoring responsibility bearing in mind that they are accountable for their actions (Cannon and Boswell, 2012).
Moreover, it is the mentor’s responsibility to assess the overall performance of the mentee such as skill, knowledge attitudes and behaviors. Leadership is also an important principle of peer mentorship which tries to equip the mentees with the skills of leadership. This thus helps them to be able to work independently in the future with minimal or no supervision.
ROLE OF INSTITUTION/ ORGANISATION IN THE STRUCTURING OF PEER MENTORING PROGRAMMES
To facilitate the students’ learning experience, organizations and educational institutions make use of their old students to create a social environment where new students can belong. This process has the tendency of the mentee becoming fully skilled. As the existing students being the mentors will effortlessly inculcate those skills in them.
Moreover, a successful peer mentoring process is determined by communication, voluntary engagement of the mentees and time flexibility. Additionally, a transition is important in student’s academic supports and ongoing supports as areas of emphasis in the peer mentorship process.
MENTORSHIP AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Entrepreneurs and mentors have similar goals. Traditionally both are filled with potentials, knowledge, skills, and initiatives. As entrepreneurs try to utilize every opportunity to make profits, mentors equally utilize opportunities to impact knowledge on the mentee.
Meanwhile, the assumption of the role model perspective by the mentee will enable him to acquire a lot from the person he is looking up to as both are successful in their careers. Studies identified that people that are well mentored often turns to be better entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship in education is the process of equipping learners with the additional knowledge, attributes, and capacities necessary to apply these abilities in the context of setting up a new venture. Therefore, in the mentoring process, this can help the mentee not just to become competent but to become innovative as well.
IMPORTANCE OF TIME MANAGEMENT IN MENTORSHIP
Since time management is very necessary for the attainment of any realistic goal. Also, time management cannot be disregard in the mentorship process. Healthcare mentors should be able to structure a good mentorship plan and objective. Putting into consideration the acronym SMART for them to be able to come up with a feasible and achievable objective in a mentorship program. Meanwhile, there should be a well-defined time frame for the whole session as well as each session of the mentorship program. This is to allow learning to take place within a specified time frame.
THE RELEVANCE OF LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN MENTORSHIP
The knowledge and skills of leadership, when involved in a mentorship program, tend to a sound and effective mentoring process. Mentors should be aware of the different leadership styles as well as their theories and models and be able to apply them appropriately during the mentorship process.
Studies have identified that the combination of leadership and mentorship skills gives an unbeatable unchallengeable mentoring. Therefore, nurse mentors should be able to demonstrate the combination of leadership and mentorship skills in their mentorship process.
PEER MENTORING THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS
Theoretically, the community of practice (Cop) focuses on how apprenticeship helps people in learning thus given an insightful understanding of the principle and importance of WBL as well as peer mentoring. This was achieved by a process called situational learning through legitimate peripheral participation. The term Cop referred to people who share common goals, interests, and desire to learn from and contribute to their communities.
With their different skills and experiences. It was found that when fresher join already existing groups or communities, they begin with observation and subsequently start performing minor tasks and gradually progress unto the major ones. Therefore, in the contemporary mentoring and learning process, the use of Cop can never be overemphasized. As it can provide an informal opportunity for learners to gradually gain a professional competency in the workplace.
Furthermore, the theory of action learning by Revans, explains the importance of professional colleagues sharing and comparing problems, ideas and solutions. This relevance was achieved through action learning sets, where students could gain supports and confidence from their peers and introduce new ways of working. The success of this theory was measured through coal pit productivity. However, this theory can be challenging and informative as well. Revans identified the organizational practice of action learning as the upward communication doubt.
This is an opportunity for learners to engage in learning and discover an action that could make positive differences to the effectiveness of the organization. This idea was supported by Smith (2015) who opined sharing experience within a peer-oriented community of learning and practice gives room for cultural, social and professional transition. Which transforms the learning process to the learner’s learning desire.
More so, the social development theory by Vygotsky (1978) explains the importance of social interaction in the development of cognition. Learning according to this takes place when social peer interactions are inter-psychological and individually amongst peers which are intra-psychological.
This theory is of the idea that the potentials for cognitive development are dependent on the zone of proximal development. Consequently, a certain level of development is attained during peer mentoring when there is a cordial engagement in the social relationship.
However, the rate that peers could influence student’s performance and development can only be determined by the extent of their interactions and its content as well. Thus the relevance of the organization’s role in formulating a suitable and meaningful peer mentoring program. Hence, the need for the development and implementation of a well-structured peer mentoring program in the healthcare education curriculum.
Additionally, peer mentors can also facilitate learning through the model of supplementary instructions which looks at the collaborative approach of learning as a means of enhancing the academic performance of student mentees.
This model was used by Martin (1973) through peer-assisted study to improve success and student retention within. Meanwhile, peer mentoring can create a community of practice where interaction and supports are given to mentees thus enhancing the learning experience.
In conclusion, mentorship in healthcare settings is a continuous process. This article tries to evaluate why is mentoring important in nursing and other healthcare professions. There is an obvious need for healthcare providers to always incorporate the mentorship process into their daily activities. This involves incorporating mentorship theories, principles, time management, entrepreneurship and leadership knowledge into their various practices.
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