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Registered Nurses and Nursing Associates
All NMC registered nurses and nursing associates are required to supervise or assess students in practice and serve as role models for safe and effective practice.
The new NMC standards framework for nursing and midwifery education have been in effect since 28 January 2019. The changes introduce new roles to support learning in practice, including support from the whole multidisciplinary team. Mentors and sign-off mentors have been replaced by practice supervisors, practice assessors and academic assessors.
Practice supervisors are responsible for supervising and supporting students on placement. All registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates can be practice supervisors.
There is no longer a requirement to have completed an NMC-approved training programme, but all practice supervisors should receive appropriate preparation and support to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge and experience that is relevant to the student/trainee and area of practice they are supervising. Practice supervisors may be supported in their role by other health and care staff, such as a physiotherapist or phlebotomist, to contribute to the learning for the student.
Practice assessors assess the students’ overall performance while on placement. They will work with practice supervisors and there should be evidence of dialogue between practice supervisors and assessors, this feedback from practice supervisors will inform and evidence the decisions that are made by practice assessors.
Practice assessors may be registered nurses, midwives or nursing associates, but will only assess within their scope of practice. However, registered nurses may also assess trainee nursing associates. There is no specified amount of time that practice assessors must spend with the students that they are assessing. However, practice assessors must be confident that the students are meeting their required level of proficiency and are ready to progress to the next part of their programme.
Academic assessors collate and confirm student achievement in the academic environment for each part of the programme. They also work closely with practice assessors to provide confirmation of the proficiency of a student/trainee in providing safe and effective care and make recommendations for progression
Allied Health Professionals
It is a requirement of the HCPC Standards for education and training that ‘practice–based learning must take place in an environment that is safe and supportive for learners and service users’.
There must also be an adequate number of appropriately qualified and experienced staff involved in practice-based learning. This includes ‘practice educators’ who the HCPC define as a person who is responsible for a learner’s education during their practice-based learning. They must ‘have relevant knowledge, skills and experience to support safe and effective learning and, unless other arrangements are appropriate, must be on the relevant part of the Register’.