Student practice supervision and assessment resource centre

Welcome to your mentorship update resource for health professionals, registered nurses and midwives who support learners in practice. It is comprehensive but not exhaustive. There are signposts throughout to further reading or study. 

The way student nurses, midwives and trainee nursing associates are supported and assessed in practice is currently going through a transition period to meet the new NMC Standards for student supervision and assessment (2018).

The introduction of the new roles of supervisor and assessor are being introduced to replace the role of the mentor. During the transition period the terms:

Mentor/Sign-off Mentor/Supervisor/Practice Assessor will be used

From 2019 the term 'mentor and sign-off mentor' will be discontinued.


A mentor is a nurse who has completed specific preparation in assessing students and is responsible for ongoing supervision and assessment in practice settings. Other registered professionals who have been suitably prepared can supervise and contribute to the assessment of nursing students.

A sign-off mentor is a mentor who has met additional criteria, is registered in the field of practice that the student intends to enter and makes a final judgement of competence and proficiency during the final placement of year three.

A supervisor is a registered health care professional (nurse, midwife, allied health professional, registered nursing associate) or other, who works with the student enabling their learning and provides feedback and evidence of the student’s attainment and development to their designated assessor.

Supervisors need to be prepared to understand the programme and assessment requirements.

A practice assessor is a registered health care professional on the same part of the NMC register as the student they are designated to assess. They are required to complete the student’s assessment process and together with the designated academic assessor make decisions about the student’s proficiency and progression from one stage of the programme to the next (at the end of the year). An assessor is normally designated for each placement experience or the whole year.

Assessors need to undertake preparation for their role to:

  • understand the programme and assessment requirements
  • be on the employer/university Assessor Register
  • maintain their proficiency and CPD through regular assessor updates and revalidation.

An academic assessor is required to be on the same part of the NMC register as the students they are designated to assess. They are required collaboratively with the designated practice assessor to make decisions about proficiency and progression of the student form one stage to the next. The student will have a different academic assessor for each stage of the programme.

Support centre: There is a mentor update quiz section within this resource and once completed you will gain a certificate to show you are up-to-date and eligible to remain on the live register. If you have not visited this site before or you are undertaking a mentorship course please take some time to read the different sections, otherwise feel free to skip directly to your desired section.

Certain sections of this resource require sound; you will need to ensure that your machine is able to play sound (i.e. you will need speakers or headphones).

On completion of the resource you should have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • reflected on your current role as a mentor/PPE
  • identified the responsibility of all parties regarding the practice assessment process
  • identified and reviewed professional standards for supporting learning and assessment in practice (HCPC, 2009, NMC, 2008) in relation to your practice
  • identified support mechanisms available to mentors/supervisors
  • increased your understanding of your accountability and responsibility as a mentor/supervisor in the light of current evidence
  • gained understanding on how to apply best practice throughout the assessment process
  • enhanced knowledge of quality monitoring processes
  • identified opportunities to participate in monitoring the quality of practice placements.