Who is the sign-off mentor?

Who is the sign-off mentor?


The role of the sign-off mentor

The role of the sign-off mentor


Please Select Video

In midwifery all mentors are sign off mentors, however in nursing, mentors will need to fulfil certain NMC criteria.  For further information, see Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice (NMC, 2008)

What is a sign off mentor?

  • Is an experienced mentor of nursing students who is registered as having completed a recognised mentor preparation programme
  • Has evidence of fulfilling extra criteria (see below)

Criteria for becoming a sign-off mentor

  • Being registered and working in the same field of practice as the field in which the student intends to register (i.e. a children’s nursing student can only be signed off by a registered children’s nurse)
  • Having clinical competence and up to date experience in the field in which the student is being assessed
  • Having a working knowledge of the student’s curriculum and programme requirements, including practice assessment strategies
  • Understanding of the NMC registration requirements and the contribution a sign off mentor makes
  • Understanding of accountability to the NMC, i.e. being able to justify decisions made to pass or fail the student
  • Meeting the NMC supervision requirements before signing off management students (students who are in their last practice placement/management placement)
  • Having been supervised on three occasions of signing off a management student by another sign off mentor or practice teacher (two of these can be simulation situations)
  • Being recorded on the local mentor database as being a sign off mentor

Accountability as a sign off mentor

  • Keeping accurate and clear documentation (keeping notes in addition to practice assessment documentation if necessary)
  • Date and sign all paperwork and ask student to sign this (including additional paperwork)
  • Being able to justify decisions made to pass and fail the student
  • Involving the student’s personal tutor, any additional paperwork can be sent to the personal tutor to be included in the student’s file
  • Careful review of the student’s ongoing achievement record (ORA)
  • Ensuring the student meets the required standards of competence
  • Being fair and objective
  • nvolving the university team at the earliest possible time if having doubts about a student’s competence and fitness to practice (i.e. practice educator/facilitator, academic in practice and personal tutor, as well as other team members)

To remain as a sign off mentor

  • Undertake a yearly mentor update
  • Mentor a minimum of two students in the past three years
  • Undertake a successful triennial review every three years providing evidence of continuing professional development
  • Assist in the development of new sign off mentors

Supervision of prospective sign off mentors

  • By being a role model
  • Give support
  • Be approachable
  • Meet NMC criteria for sign off mentoring

(adapted from Aston and Hallam, 2011)

For further information, see:
Aston L, Hallam P (2011) Successful Mentoring in Nursing Exeter Learning Matters
Gopee, N. (2010) Mentoring and Supervision in Healthcare London Sage