Mentorship/Preceptorship (M/P) has been utilised within the nursing profession since the early 1980's. Successful, structured M/P programmes can be hugely beneficial to Northern Ireland (NI) Trusts who recruit regularly and often rely on the fluidity of staff movement regionally. In the absence of standardised tools to accurately and universally measure the competency of newly qualified Radiographers (NQR) as they evolve, establishing the benchmark for effective practice within Radiology departments in NI is difficult and highly subjective at best. This study aimed to evaluate the current M/P strategies within NI as perceived by NQR and Radiology Managers (RM). A mix of both qualitative and quantitative data was obtained using questionnaires through a scoping exercise. Opinions were sought from a target audience of NQR, who began full-time employment following graduation in 2018, and RM involved in the delivery of current M/P programmes within the NI Trusts. Responses were gained from all five NI trusts to achieve a representative regional sample, with final opinions of RM (n = 8, 54%) and NQR (n = 30, 67%) received. With the exception of one response, all NQRs confirmed receiving some form of M/P support within their inaugural post. Significant variations were apparent in both the structure and delivery of Trust M/P induction programmes, calling into question the comparable competency of NQRs regionally. The disparity in approach towards M/P programmes across NI, and subsequent lack of comparability of NQR competence, endorses the development of a more robust and universal method for the regional assessment of NQRs, such as that of the 'Flying Start NHS®' programme utilised by National Health Service (NHS) Scotland, in combination with knowledge and skills framework (KSF) practices in supervision. [Abstract copyright: Crown Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I would like to extend special thanks to the following: Academic advisor Dr J Cathcart and former colleague Mrs N McMorris. Thanks to those who offered support within the researchers Trust, the participants and the regional Professional Practice Educator network. This study did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. The author reports no declarations of interest.
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