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Nursing Practice Placements

Becoming a supervisor or assessor

Information on how to become a practice supervisor, practice assessor or academic assessor, what the role entails and the support available.

Practice supervisors

Practice supervisors can be any registered health and social care professional working in a practice environment who has been prepared and supported to take up their role and have up-to-date knowledge and experience relevant to the student they are supervising.

Are you registered with either the NMC, the HCPC or Social Work England?
  • Yes: Once you have been prepared and supported you can fulfil the role of practice supervisor.
  • No: You are not able to act in the role of a practice supervisor but can still make a valuable contribution to students' learning and development.
Have you had previous preparation to provide supervision and facilitate learning for students?
  • Yes: You will need to undertake practice supervisor transition training.
  • No: You will need to undertake practice supervisor preparation training.
Are you a registrant who has previously completed a course or equivalent in relation to the NMC Standards for Learning and Assessment in Practice (SLAiP) (2008)?
  • Yes: You will need to undertake practice supervisor transition training.
  • No: You will need to undertake a practice supervisor preparation training.

The NMC have set out standards for what is expected for the preparation of practice supervisors. Visit the NMC website for more information.

Transition and preparation training for the supervisor role is available. York St John University is part of the PAN Midlands, Yorkshire, North East and East Practice Learning Group (MYNEE PLG) which has developed an online training package and workbook to support supervisor transition into the new role.

You can access the transition workbook here: Practice Assessor/Practice Supervisor transition training workbook (DOC, 0.4MB)

You can access the preparation workbook here: Practice Supervisor preparation training workbook (DOC, 1MB)

They contain links to the online training programme. York St John University also provides face-to-face updates for practice supervisors twice a year at its Clinical Co-ordinators Meetings. If you would like to attend an update please contact placements@yorksj.ac.uk

On completion of your preparation, there is a quiz to complete: SSSA e-learning package quiz

Once completed you can send this to your employer as evidence that you have completed your supervisor preparation and are ready to begin supervising pre-registration nursing students. You should keep a copy too.

As a practice supervisor you will contribute to the student's learning journey by:

  • Providing the student with a sense of belonging, ensuring that the learning environment is welcoming
  • Serving as a role model for safe and effective practice in line with professional codes of conduct
  • Supporting the student's learning experience, helping the student to plan their learning experience, ensuring learning opportunities are facilitated
  • Liaising with others who have contributed to the student's learning including other health and social care professionals and service users and carers
  • Providing feedback and contributing to the student's practice assessment documentation, conducting initial and mid-point interviews
  • Raising concerns about student performance and behaviour as required
  • Communicating with the practice assessor and academic assessor, providing feedback to inform assessment decisions
  • Upholding public protection when supporting and supervising students.

Support available for practice supervisors includes:

  • The practice assessor for the student
  • The academic assessor for the student
  • Discussions with other practice supervisors and your peers
  • Your ward manager/learning environment manager.

Practice assessors

A practice assessor must be a registered nurse. A practice assessor must be a registered nurse, midwife, or specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN). You must have appropriate equivalent knowledge and experience for the student's field of practice.

Are you a registered nurse?
  • Yes: Once you have completed the required update preparation you can fulfil the role of practice assessor for a nursing student.
  • No: You are not able to act in the role of a practice assessor for a nursing student but can still make a valuable contribution to students learning and development and may be able to fulfil the role of a practice supervisor if you are a registered health or social care professional.
Are you a registrant who has previously completed a course or equivalent in relation to the NMC Standards for Learning and Assessment in Practice (SLAiP) (2008)?
  • Yes: You will need to undertake practice assessor transition training.
  • No: You will need to undertake practice assessor preparation training.

The NMC have set out standards for what is expected for the preparation of practice assessors. Visit the NMC website for more information.

The level of preparation will be different for different people depending on the level of knowledge, skill and experience you have and whether you have been a mentor or a sign-off mentor before.

Transition and preparation training for the practice assessor role is available. York St John University is part of the PAN Midlands, Yorkshire, North East and East Practice Learning Group (MYNEE PLG) which has developed an online training package and workbook to support assessor transition into the new role.

You can access the workbook here: Practice Assessor/Practice Supervisor transition training workbook (DOC, 0.4MB)

It contains links to the online training programme.

If you are a new practice assessor you can access an additional preparation workbook here: Practice Assessor preparation and guidance workbook (DOC, 0.3MB)

You should complete both workbooks to ensure you are familiar with your role and the practice assessment documentation. York St John University also provides face-to-face preparation for practice assessors twice a year at its Clinical Co-ordinators Meetings. If you would like to attend an update please contact placements@yorksj.ac.uk

On completion of your preparation, there is a quiz to complete: SSSA e-learning package quiz

Once completed you can send this to your employer as evidence that you have completed your assessor preparation and are ready to begin assessing pre-registration nursing students. You should keep a copy too.

As a practice assessor you will normally be allocated a pre-registration nursing student from York St John University for a series of placements. You will normally oversee a student's learning for an academic year. A student will normally begin their year of study and end their year of study with their academic assessor and work with practice supervisors in different placement areas who will feed back to you regarding the student's performance.

Practice learning for student nurses is organised using a hub and spoke model. You can see more about this on our Organisation of practice learning page.

As a practice assessor you assess and confirm the student's achievement of practice learning for a placement or a series of placements. As a nominated practice assessor, you will also work with the nominated academic assessor to make a recommendation for student progression.

As a practice assessor you will:

  • Contribute towards students' induction and orientation to the practice placement with practice supervisors. This may include contributing to an initial meeting with the student, identifying student learning outcomes and agreeing dates for the interim and final review meetings
  • Contribute towards the continuity and coordination of supervision through liaison with practice supervisors, students and other members of the team
  • Establish and maintain effective communication and collaboration with practice supervisors (seeking information and feedback) and the nominated academic assessor (making progression decisions) for the individual student
  • Discuss and agree the practice supervisor's contribution to the student's review meetings
  • Contribute towards student practice placement review meetings
  • Conduct evidence-based assessments, informed by evidence from practice supervisors and accurately record the rationale and outcome of these decisions in the student's practice assessment document
  • Provide feedback to practice supervisors on key aspects of their role
  • Raise concerns about student competence and conduct.

As a practice assessor, you will receive ongoing support and updating for the role from one or more of the following:

  • The academic assessor for the student
  • Your learning environment manager
  • Your practice learning facilitator/co-ordinator
  • Discussions with other practice assessors and academic assessors to share best practice and discuss assessment decisions
  • Clinical Co-Ordinators Meetings at York St John University
  • Revalidation by use of critical reflection on your role in student supervision and assessment.

Academic assessors

The academic assessor for pre-registration nursing students at York St John University is a member of staff from the university. They are registered nurses who have completed academic assessor preparation and have equivalent qualifications or experience.

The programme leader for pre-registration nursing programme at York St John University will allocate an appropriate academic assessor for each part of the students programme. You will be advised as to who the academic assessor is for the student(s) you are assessing. You will also be able to access their details via the student's electronic practice assessment document (ePAD).

As a practice assessor you will work in partnership to evaluate and recommend the student for progression for each part of the programme, in line with programme standards and for entry (or additional entry) to the NMC professional register on successful completion of the programme.

For more information on the academic assessor role, access the NMC information on academic assessors here.

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