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					           The Sign-off Mentor




Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
      Only sign-off mentors and practice teachers that
      are on the same part of the register and in the
      same field of practice (branch) may confirm to the
      NMC that students have met the relevant
      standards of proficiency for the particular
      programme leading to registration or a qualification
      that is recordable on the NMC register.
      (NMC 2006)

The sign-off mentor CONFIRMS that the student is fit
  to go on the NMC register


Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Criteria to become a sign-off
mentor
   Identified on the local register as a sign-off mentor or practice teacher
   Registered on the same part of the register
   Working in the same field of practice
And in addition have:
   Clinical currency and capability in the field of practice in which the student is
   being assessed
   Met the NMC requirements to remain on the local register
   Been supervised on at least 3 occasions for signing off proficiency at the end of
   a final placement by an existing sign-off mentor or practice teacher
   A working knowledge of current programme requirements, practice assessment
   strategies and relevant changes in education and practice for the student they
   are assessing
   An understanding of the NMC registration requirements and the contribution
   they make to meeting these requirements
   An in-depth understanding of their accountability to the NMC for the decision
   they make to pass or fail a student when assessing proficiency requirements at
   the end of a programme


Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
What does it mean for me to be
a sign-off mentor?
     Who will decide whether I will be a sign-off mentor
     and when will it start?
     Will I carrying more responsibility and accountability?
     Will I need more training?
     Will it take more time?
     If the student, once they are on the register, does
     something that brings their fitness for practice into
     question might I be called to account for my actions
     as a sign-off mentor?
     What support will I have?

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Who will decide whether I will be a sign-off
mentor and when will it start?
     Placement providers will decide in the first instance who may be considered as
     a sign-off mentor (September 2007) and annotate these mentors accordingly

     Once these first sign-off mentors are in place, subsequent mentors would need
     to be supervised on three occasions for signing off proficiency at the end of a
     final placement by an existing sign-off mentor before they themselves become a
     sign-off mentor

     Sign-off mentors are required for all midwifery placements and for the final
     placement of nursing programmes leading to registration.
           midwifery programmes needed by September 2007
           3 year pre-reg nursing programmes needed by Summer 2010
           2 year pre-reg nursing programmes needed by Summer 2009
           Return to Practice programmes needed by September 2007
           HOWEVER – the NMC requires that mentors seek advice and support from sign-off
           mentors when dealing with failing student
           AND programme providers are likely to suggest a sign-off mentor is involved in the
           decision for a nursing student to progress from CFP to branch


Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Will I be carrying more
responsibility and accountability?
     Your professional accountability remains the
     same. Currently, as a mentor signing to pass
     a student in the final placement period you
     are confirming to the NMC that they are fit to
     go on the professional register. This is what
     a sign-off mentor will do, but they will have
     access to more information to support the
     decision to pass or fail that student.

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
And remember..
     Students carry responsibility for their actions:
           To question if they are unsure
           To say if they are not happy about something you
           have asked them to do
           To work within their sphere of competence
           To follow local policies and procedures




Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
And…
     All Mentors throughout the programme are
     responsible too
           For maintaining safety of clients
           For supervising students (close or distant supervision)
           For making sure students know where to find local policies
           and procedures
           For finding out how competent students are (and not just
           by asking them)
           For enabling students to learn effectively
           To fail weak students


Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Responsibility and
Accountability
     Professional accountability for actions of a student
     rests with an NMC registrant who is supervising the
     student (whether close or distant supervision) at any
     time. This may change from day to day depending
     on the supervision arrangements.
     Professional accountability for the decision to pass
     or fail a student at the end of a placement rests with
     the mentor who supervises them for that placement.
     A sign-off mentor will not be expected to re-assess
     decisions made by previous mentors
Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Assessment – for any mentor
(not just a sign-off mentor)
     In order to make a judgement regarding the
     student’s suitability to progress
           You must satisfy yourself that the student is competent in
           each learning outcome
           You might need to use different sources of evidence
           (observation, question and answer, simulation)
           You must record any concerns that you have
           You must make the student aware of any concerns you
           have and give them a chance to make the necessary
           improvements
           You must involve others (mentors, practice supervisors,
           academic supervisors) if you have concerns

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Will I need more training?
     You will need to have a good understanding of:
         The programme requirements and practice assessment
         documentation for the student you are assessing
         The NMC requirements for registration and your contribution as a
         sign-off mentor
         An in-depth understanding of your accountability
     You will have these things if you have completed a mentorship
     preparation programme and attended regular mentor updates
     (they are not different to the requirements for any mentor)
     You will need to ensure you update your mentorship skills
     ANNUALLY
     All mentors will need to have their performance as a mentor
     reviewed (by their employer) once every three years (the triennial
     review)

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Will it take more time?
     For nursing programmes, yes – there are some
     additional things expected of a sign-off mentor in the
     final placement that will mean the assessment will
     take more time
           A sign-off mentor will be expected to review previous
           practice assessment documentation to ensure any
           concerns raised earlier in the programme have been
           appropriately addressed
           This does not mean you will question the judgements of
           previous mentors, just that you are satisfied that all
           appropriate assessments have been made

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
For example
As a sign-off mentor you were reviewing a student’s practice assessment
   documentation and you noticed that a concern was raised during a
   second year placement. It was documented that the student did not
   always recognise and appropriately report signs of deterioration in a
   patient’s condition. The student had not failed the placement but the
   personal supervisor and student had identified this as an area in need
   of specific attention in the next placement.

You then looked through subsequent assessments and noted that no
  further problems of this nature had been identified and mentor
  comments suggested that the student had adequately addressed this
  issue.

During your own supervision and assessment of the student in the final
  placement you make sure, through observation, questioning and
  discussion, that this is no longer a concern about the student’s
  performance.

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
Protected time
     The NMC requires that sign-off mentors have
     time to reflect, give feedback and keep
     records of student achievement in their final
     period of practice learning
     The NMC suggests that this should be the
     equivalent of an hour per student per week
     This is in addition to the 40% of the student’s
     time to be supervised by a mentor

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
If the student, once they are on the register, does
something that brings their fitness for practice
into question might I be called to account for my
actions as a sign-off mentor?


     Once someone is on the professional register they are
     accountable for their own actions

     As the sign-off mentor (or as a mentor now), you are
     only likely to face a formal proceeding if:
       You have taken on the role of mentor/sign-off mentor
       without having the appropriate qualification or
       authorisation for doing so
       You have been reckless in your decision-making

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF
What support will I have?
     Mentors and sign-off mentors should always take
     account of the input of other members of the team
     when dealing with assessment decisions
     Concerns and worries should always be shared with
     the link lecturer/PPF/student’s personal supervisor
     to ensure support from the programme providers
     Updates and meetings will provide further advice
     and guidance – make sure you access regularly
     Many placement areas have an identified lead for
     student issues (e.g. lead nurse for education,
     learning environment manager). Find out if your
     area has someone like this.

Date Last Reviewed: 04/06/2009
AR/RF

				
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