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London South Bank University

HSC Practice Learning

HSC Mentoring
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Frequently asked questions 

Below is a list of commonly asked questions and their answers, if you have a question we can add to the list please email it to Clare Latham. 

1. I have a student that wants to work more than 48 hours in a week, is this allowed?

It is a requirement of the European Working Time Directive that students do not work more than 48 hours in a 7 day period. Consequently, working excess hours will not be accepted. There is no provision on any Pre-registration course for a student to opt-out of the European Working Time Directive.

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2. I am mentoring a first year student are they allowed to do night shifts?

Students may work night duty in the first year at the discretion of the Clinical Placement Manager or equivalent. In practice learning opportunities that have been deemed suitable for night duty, students may work night duty up to a maximum of a week of night duty per 6 week practice learning opportunity and 2-3 weeks of night duty per 12 week practice learning opportunity.

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3. Does my student have to work weekends/bank holidays?

In order that students experience the full 24 hour/7 day a week nature of nursing care, students (in areas where 24 hour, 7 days a week care is provided) should work a minimum of 1 weekend, in whole or in part, in every 4 weeks where possible, or, a maximum of 2 weekends out of every 4 weeks.

If a Bank Holiday occurs during a practice learning allocation it is regarded as a regular day of work, which the student may or may not be rostered to work or the student will be informed of a local arrangement by the Placement Office or Practice Facilitator/Practice Development Manager or their Course Director if the practice learning opportunity will not be available during a Bank Holiday. Students may need to work additional weekends and/or Bank Holidays when making up practice time. No time in lieu is given if a Bank Holiday is worked.

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4. My student keeps on swapping shifts and requesting to change their rota when this is not possible, what do I do?

Excessive requests and unreasonable requests may be referred to the University (Course Director). Shift swapping should only occur in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion and authorisation of the Clinical Placement Manager or equivalent. Excessive requests to swap shifts may be referred to the University (Course Director).

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5. What is supernumary status?

Whilst undertaking any practice learning opportunity, all students have supernumerary status. This means that they will not be counted on the rota as part of the team. Students must be considered as additional to the team. However, students may see their name on the duty rota. This reminds practice learning opportunity staff which students are gaining experience with them and what days/shifts they will be on duty, as well as ensuring that a record is maintained of staff on duty for Health & Safety and management reasons.

Being supernumerary does not mean that students can take the role of an observer only. The nature of the learning outcomes is that students are not only expected to observe practice but also to actively participate in patient/client care.

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6. Does my student need to attend our Trust induction?

Where the Trust/care organisation provides an induction programme, it is mandatory to attend. Failure to attend may delay or prevent commencement of the student's practice learning opportunity reflecting local Trust/care organisation policy.

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7. My student has stopped showing up for thier placement and has not arranged leave, what do I do?

Absence from the practice learning opportunity is deemed to be non-attendance when this has not previously been negotiated or when there has is failure to follow the sickness/absence reporting procedure. This will be reported to the Placements Office immediately by the practice learning opportunity staff and will be followed up with the student by the Course Director.

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8. What do I do if my student is constantly turning up for shifts late?

Persistent lateness/poor timekeeping is considered poor professional behaviour and must first be discussed with the Practice Mentor, then with the Link Lecturer/Course Director. This will be recorded in the Practice Learning and Assessment Portfolio and taken into account when scoring and assessing the student.

Seconded NHS Trust students must comply with their individual secondment agreement and are also expected to comply with the University requirements for attendance and punctuality. My student has a personal appointment booked during a shift, can I ask them to rearrange it to a day that they are not meant to be on placement?

Students are expected to arrange personal appointments e.g. G.P. appointment, dental appointment, during the hours they are not on duty in their practice learning opportunity. It is at the discretion of the Practice Mentor or Clinical Placement Manager whether to grant the student authorisation to attend a personal appointment when they had been expected to be on duty. If such authorisation is given the student must inform the relevant LSBU Sickness/Absence Officer, arrange for the lost time to be made up and document in the Practice Learning and Assessment Portfolio.

Students, who need to attend an emergency Occupational Health appointment during practice hours e.g. following a needle stick injury, must not be prevented from doing so and will not be required to make up lost time. Students are also allowed to attend scheduled antenatal appointments without regress.

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9. My student has an interview for a job but it is on a day and time when they are meant to be on their placement, can I ask them to rearrange?

Third year students in the final four months of their Pre-registration course can attend a maximum of 2 interviews or selection processes for NHS Staff Nurse posts without regress, though the student should attempt to arrange their work rota so that they can attend the interview during the hours they are not on duty in their practice learning opportunity. The student must produce evidence of the interview dates and time if required by their Practice Mentor or Clinical Placement Manager.

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10. There was an incident with a patient and my student, do I need to contact the University?

If a student is involved in any incident, accident or sustains personal injury e.g. physical abuse from a patient, they must complete an Incident form, keeping a copy for their own records, and follow the local Trust/care organisation policy with the guidance of the Clinical Placement Manager. It is the student's responsibility to inform the relevant LSBU Occupational Health provider of the incident.

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11. My student has just informed me that they are pregnant/expecting a baby what needs to happen?

It is the responsibility of the student to inform their Course Director and Trust/care organisation as soon as the pregnancy has been confirmed. This is to ensure that the appropriate risk assessment can be carried out in order that the student and her unborn child are not put at unnecessary risk.

Students should refer to 'The New and Expectant Mothers Policy' (2016), produced by LSBU School of Health and Social Care. Seconded students should also follow their Trust policy.

Students requiring paternity leave must discuss this with their Course Director.

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12. My student has had a bereavement and asked for time off, can I approve this?

Students are entitled to Special Leave and Compassionate Leave at the discretion of the Course Director or Cohort Leader. Special and Compassionate Leave cannot be authorised by Practice Staff. However, in exceptional circumstances when the Course Director and Cohort Leader are not available e.g. weekends/night duty, the Clinical Placement Manager may grant Special Leave for up to 4 days. It is the student's responsibility to contact the Course Director or Cohort Leader in order to discuss the situation and ensure that the appropriate authorisation is negotiated. The Clinical Placement Manager will also record this on the monthly returns to the University. Copyright: London South Bank University LSBU Practice Learning Opportunities Guidelines 2012 - 2013 18

Seconded students must liaise with their employing Trust, who will make the ultimate decision regarding granting Special Leave and Compassionate Leave.

All time spent on Special Leave or Compassionate Leave must be made up.

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13. I deem my student competent enough to give a patient their medication on their own, is this acceptable?

Students must never check or administer medicines on their own or without the supervision of a qualified Nurse, Midwife or Health Visitor.

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14. If my student is on the ward when an issue with a patient arises, are they able to help with the restraint of that patient?

Students are not allowed to be directly involved in Control and Restraint activities.

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15. Can my student escort or take patients off the ward?

Students must not accompany or escort patients/clients away from the practice learning opportunity. The exceptions to this are:

(a) In residential homes, the nature of the client group may mean that students do accompany residents in the community but they should only do this when they feel confident in terms of both the resident's mental/physical state and with the permission of the Clinical Placement Manager or equivalent.

(b) Where there is a qualified member of staff present and the student is accompanying the staff/client as a learning experience.

(c) Where a patient has been assessed by a qualified member of staff to be in a stable condition and would therefore have gone to another department e.g. MRI scanner, X-Ray on their own or with a porter. In this circumstance, the student is not acting as an escort.

(d) Where a child patient has been assessed by a qualified member of staff to be in a stable condition and requires an escort only by virtue of their age.

(e) Within Mental Health/Learning Disability settings, it is acknowledged that unrestricted informal patients who, subject to appropriate risk assessment by the Practice Mentor/qualified member of staff, can leave the practice learning opportunity and may be accompanied by a student as part of their learning experience, in accordance with the Trust/care organisation policy e.g. going with a patient to a hospital appointment, acting as an advocate.

(f) In accordance with local Trust/Care organisation policies.

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16. Can students handle patient's money?

Students should not handle patients/clients' money as this can put the student in a compromising position. If the student is given money by a patient/client (e.g. to get a paper) the transfer of the money must be witnessed by a qualified member of staff.

For Learning Disability Field students, local Trust/care organisation policy on this matter must be followed.

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17. I do not feel that my student is behaving appropriately/professionally, what can I do?

Students must at all times behave in a manner which supports that they are undertaking a professional programme and are ambassadors of their chosen profession and of LSBU and of their Trust/care organisation.

Where the Practice Mentor/clinical team have concerns and/or have experienced behaviour by the student that is inappropriate, initially this will be discussed within the supervisory setting and where necessary recorded in the Practice Learning and Assessment Portfolio.

Discussions regarding student behaviour in practice will involve both the University and the Trust/care organisation.

If a student in practice is considered to be a risk or has demonstrated unsafe or unacceptable practice/behaviour, the Trust/care organisation reserves the right to remove the student from the practice learning opportunity. This will be done in partnership with the Trust/care organisation and the University.

Incidents of unsafe or unacceptable practice/behaviour may result in referral to the LSBU Fitness to Practice panel.

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18. My student's appearance whilst on placement does not fit in with our Trust policy, can this be enforced?

Trust/organisation policy on dress, appearance and personal hygiene must be followed and supersedes any guidelines listed in this section. It is expected that students will present themselves in a way that supports a perception of personal and professional integrity as this will have a direct effect on the nurse/client relationship and subsequent nursing care, reduce the risk of cross-infection, and maintain staff and patient/client safety. If a student is not wearing the correct uniform or has any other fault with their dress, appearance or personal hygiene, they can expect to be sent off duty from their practice learning opportunity.

In areas where uniform is not worn, students should not dress in a manner that could be seen as politically, culturally, ethnically or sexually provocative or inappropriate. The values and religious/cultural sensitivities of clients/patients in relation to dress should be remembered and due respect given to this, in particular when visiting their homes. The student's own values and religious/cultural sensitivities are also important and need to be remembered and respected. Where a formal uniform is not required, students should dress informally but smartly, and clothing should not be tight or restrict movement. Shoes should be practical i.e. no high heels/strappy unstable sandals. Guidance will be given to students from individual Trusts/Care organisations about acceptable dress in line with their stated policy. If clothing is lost or damaged whilst on duty the practice learning opportunity's practice policy should usually apply.

If a student is repeatedly at fault with their dress, appearance or personal hygiene this could lead to referral in the practice learning opportunity in the relevant core nursing values.

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19. How do I raise my concerns about a student?

Should the Practice Mentor feel there is a difficulty, concern, or wishes to make an enquiry, he/she should contact the Link Lecturer and the Trust/care organisation Practice Facilitator or equivalent and, if necessary, arrange for them to visit the practice learning opportunity.

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20. What is an associate mentor?

In addition to a student's mentor, some clinical areas allocate a second person to work with the student who acts as an Associate Mentor supporting their learning and assessment. This person may or may not have completed their mentor preparation programme and will work in partnership with the mentor. If the Associate Mentor has not undertaken and passed an NMC approved mentor preparation programme they are not permitted to complete any summative assessments on a student and thus complete these sections of the practice learning documentation.

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21. What is a sign off mentor?

The term 'sign-off' Mentor is given to a Mentor who has met additional criteria in order that they are able to sign off a student's competence at the end of an NMC approved programme i.e. the Pre-registration nursing course.

The sign-off Mentor is responsible for the completion of the practice learning assessment document during the third year final practice learning opportunity.

A sign-off Mentor has a minimum of an hour per week protected time for a student undertaking their final practice learning opportunity in accordance with NMC guidelines (NMC 2008). This time may be spent doing a range of activities, though it will include time spent with individual students to support their learning and assessment.

The key additional element of the role of the sign-off Mentor is that they make judgements about whether a student has achieved the required standards of competence for safe and effective practice at the end of their Pre-registration course.

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