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  4. Shakespeare, P. (2007) Communication, Mentoring and Professional Identity Construction

Shakespeare, P. (2007) Communication, Mentoring and Professional Identity Construction

Resource author

Pamela Shakespeare

Resource type



Abstract: In the UK mentoring in nurse education is supervision work where student workplace experience is supported, critiqued and assessed by an experienced colleague. Communication between mentor and student and between student and clients is a central focus for this work integrated learning. In professional qualification pedagogy communication is often viewed as monolithic concept or it remains un-problematised as a component of work, and is seen as pedagogically as merely a number of disaggregated individual skills. There is a real tension between these un-problematised views of communication pedagogically and actual communication in the workplace as it takes place between student and mentor.
A UK study of mentoring in nursing suggests that when mentors and students discuss communication it serves a number of purposes. The data suggests communication is recognised both as a skill or competence required by the professional statutory body for nursing, the medium by which mentors and students develop their relationship and as a focus of attributional/personality type judgments about student success in developing a professional identity. Communication is at times discussed as a situated phenomenon dependent on context, and at times as an external un-situated phenomenon. Judgments about communicative effectiveness are not always linked to communication as defined in professional body competencies and the concept emerges as a subtle one doing a lot more work than professional definitions imply. This complexity has consequences for pedagogies for communications in work-integrated learning for Higher Education institutions and employers and the paper concludes with some speculation about these.
The paper was written following completion of the PBPL funded project 'Mentors' understanding of practice assessment in the nursing profession'.


Shakespeare (2007) Communication, mentoring and professional identity construction

Date added

7th Jul 2007