Developing a 'core of steel': the key attributes of effective practice assessors
Background: the Nursing and Midwifery Council has emphasised that its recently introduced standards for student supervision and assessment aim to ‘ensure that no one gets onto the register who shouldn't be there’. A key element in achieving this is the new practice assessor role, implemented to bolster practical assessment processes. Aim: to identify the key personal characteristics of robust practice assessors who are prepared to fail underperforming students. Method: a national study, using a grounded theory approach. Thirty-one nurses were interviewed about their experiences of failing students in practice-based assessments. Findings: robust practical assessors have a ‘core of steel’, characterised as having five key features: solidarity, tenacity, audacity, integrity and dependability. Conclusion: organisations should base their selection of practice assessors on how strongly they exhibit these five characteristics. Designating all current mentors as new practice assessors, when it is known that often they are reluctant to fail, could perpetuate failure to fail.
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Citation : Hunt, L.A. (2019) Developing a 'core of steel': the key attributes of effective practice assessors. British Journal of Nursing, 28(22),
ISSN : 0966-0461
Research Institute : Institute of Health, Health Policy and Social Care
Peer Reviewed : Yes