Central to the provision of high quality clinical placements for nursing and midwifery students are mentors who help engender a positive learning environment. In 2004 the Scottish Executive Health Department (now Scottish Government Health Directorates), NHS Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, NHS Boards and Higher Education Institutions initiated and supported the establishment of the Practice Education Facilitator (PEF) role whose purpose is to ensure that the student experience, at both pre- and post-registration level, is of the highest quality, primarily through the support of mentors. A 3-year project evaluated the implementation and impact of the PEF role across Scotland. The study utilised both quantitative and qualitative data collection, with a sample comprising mentors, PEFs, students and other key stakeholders. This paper reports on selected findings from that study, specifically the perceived impact of the PEF in supporting mentors. Findings indicate that the PEF role has been accepted widely across Scotland and is seen as valuable to the development of quality clinical learning environments. PEFs provide support and guidance for mentors when dealing with 'failing' students, and encourage the identification of innovative learning opportunities. PEFs play an active part in student evaluation of their placements, but further work is needed in order that the feedback to clinical areas and mentors is timely.
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