Gillespie (2005) asserts that a connected student-teacher relationship is characterized by the teacher nursing with students so that students "experience self-confirmation of their existing capacities and, prompted by the example of the clinical teacher, become aware of potential capacities" (Gillespie, 2005, p. 215). When investigating student perceptions of effective and ineffective clinical instructors, Tang, Chou, and Chiang (2005) found that students perceived that the most effective clinical instructors were those having strong interpersonal relationships with students and rated "solves problems with students" as the highest rated item within that category (p. 190). This would suggest that working together with students and role modeling professional behaviors are powerful determinants of effective teaching (Tang, Chou, & Chiang, 2005, 187-192).
The term mentor is used to denote the role of a nurse, midwife, or even a health visitor who facilitates learning and assess students in the practice setting. According to Department of Health, the mentor role is to facilitate learning across pre and post registration programmes. In order to do that, the mentor must supervise, support, and guide students in institutional practice where learning happens in a clinical environment. One of the main roles is assessment where implementation of approved procedures for assessment is to be executed by the mentors. They would thus be facilitators of learning in the practice setting, where they would manage and contribute to the experience of the student nurses (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008, 1-17).
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has developed a framework to support learning and assessment in practice. This framework also defines and describes the requisite knowledge and skills that are needed to be applied in practice when they support and assess students undertaking registration programmes. This framework has eight domains with identifiable outcomes in the modern healthcare education as it is applicable to nursing. These include, establishing effective working relationships, facilitation of learning, assessment and accountability, evaluation of learning, creating an environment for learning, context of practice, evidence-based practice, and leadership (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008, 1-17).
When I was mentoring a group of student nurses, to begin with, it was another responsibility since students on NMC approved preregistration nursing education programmes leading to registration on the nurses' part of the register need to be supported and assessed by mentors (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008, 18-22). My designation was that of a sign-off mentor, and as an additional responsibility, I needed to make a final assessment of these students' practice in order to confirm to the NMC that the required proficiencies for entry into the register had been achieved (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008, 23-25). When put to the task, I immediately understood that to be a good mentor, I need to become student of my own experience, and to facilitate this quality, I decided to reflect on my experience to learn something about myself and as a result will be better prepared to facilitate effective learning relationship with my