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The student–mentor relationship

02 June 2019
Volume 27 · Issue 6


The student–mentor partnership is essential for future midwives. But, as Karen Barker explores, it is a bilateral relationship that offers as much to the mentor as it does to the student

Recently, I have been reflecting on the role of the mentor in supporting midwifery students. This relationship is at times challenging and often underestimated, but it is also crucial to student progression.

As a lecturer, I offer both pastoral and academic support for students. We have timetabled sessions for study, reflections and discussions in a safe environment without interruptions. This is often not the case in practice, where time can be limited and student–mentor feedback sometimes relies clinicians doing so after working hours. So my starting point is not to criticise mentors, but to reinforce the effects that poor mentorship can have on student wellbeing.

The initial prompt for my reflection on this matter was via social media. One student, in support of University Mental Health Day (7 March), tweeted:

‘Probably the hardest three years of my life, my marriage ended, I lost my home, my brother and a close friend ended their lives and I'm working full time … never underestimate what your student is going through.’

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