Most of the fields in healthcare, law, teaching, social works, army, and others are now actively engaging in this form of education. Its objective is to provide the protg a learning opportunity to integrate the theoretical knowledge gained from the classrooms and develop it in practical setting with the advice and support from the mentor. The advice and support may be job related or even personal matters. As the relationship progress, it aims to create the interest and confidence of the protg in carrying out the actual scope of the career.
In 1999, Department of Health recognize the value of nurses, midwives and visiting health professionals and one strategic intention is to strengthen pre- and post-education and training. Since it is believed to be an important part of the education process, it will be expected that every practitioner will be responsible enough to support, teach, coach and advise the next generation nurses and midwives. It is aimed to provide high quality medical education and better practical skills by combining teaching and patient care. The importance of clinical practice is further emphasised by the DOH and gives four key areas of practice placements as follows:
Providing practice placement
Practice learning environment
Assessment of practice
The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) as endorsed by the NMC, requires the programme to enable students to apply knowledge, understanding and skills to perform the standard for competency and to provide the patients with the healthcare they need under the supervision of the mentor.
Mentorship is a special and complex relationship between the mentor and the protg wherein the mentor assumes the role of a parent, teacher, role model, adviser, counsellor or a confidant and the protg as the student or a descendant, so to speak. The success of mentorship, therefore, lies on the relationship of the mentor and the protg.
There are factors affecting the mentoring programs that should be attended to. Some of these factors are the attitude of the protges, culture, race, religion and hidden agenda. The protge should be open to new ideas and give his trust to the mentor. Being close in accepting new information, ideas and suggestions makes the attitude a blocking factor for the success of the mentorship objective. In this case, a mentor who has the expertise of dealing with such kind of protge is needed to approach the concern accordingly. The mentor should also have the broad understanding of intercultural awareness. Studies showed that the culture plays a vital role in any relationship such as the mentor-protge relationship. These factors may also be true in the part of the mentor in addition to availability of time.