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This essay aims to explore the processes of teaching, training and mentoring of adults. The setting in which this will be explored and linked to, will be one of nursing, although it is recognised that the fundamental theories explored may be applied to any setting where the teaching, training and mentoring of adults occur. The essay will explore the writer’s understanding regarding the role of a mentor within the workplace and the theoretical ties surrounding mentorship and how these are linked into the writer’s role of a mentor. Any names or areas of work mentioned in the essay have been changed in order to maintain confidentiality, clause five of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code of Professional Conduct: Standards for Conduct, Performance and Ethics (NMC 2004).

The term ‘mentor’ is defined by the English National Board (ENB) and the Department of Health (DOH) to “denote the role of the nurse, midwife or health visitor who facilitates learning and supervises and assesses students in their practice setting” (ENB & DOH 2001a P6). Nicklin and Kenworthy (2000) define a mentor as someone who by example and facilitation guides, assists, and supports the student in learning new skills, adopting new behaviour and acquiring new skills. Quinn (2000 P.427) furthers this definition by pointing out the fact that a mentor is someone who “enters into a formal arrangement to provide education and personal support to a student throughout the period of the placement.” This denotes the level of responsibility and commitment required by the mentor, as an agreement is established. Within that agreement a contract of

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