Enhancing quality and support in mentor assessment of student nurse competence in practice using mobile devices


When did you first introduce the innovation?

Less than 12 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

Between January and May 2015 thirty first-year pre-registration paediatric student nurses used a digitised evolution of the existing paper-based clinical practice portfolio to allow them to undertake and demonstrate the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council competencies while in placement. The App allows for the electronic completion and assessment of student professional development portfolios via both a computer web-based environment and/or a mobile tablet device.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education at Anglia Ruskin University has 1500 pre-registration student nurses enrolled on Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved courses. Our courses are graded as being ‘Outstanding’ for the fit-for-practice category in the review of the nursing and midwifery course provision (NMC, 2013). The FSHCE is continually striving to ensure the experience of students within practice remains outstanding and this led to the development of a computer-based electronic competency framework that communicates with mobile devices in practice via the MyProgress app.

Rationale for the decision to use MyProgress include:

The current paper-based system whilst evaluated well in practice has limitations.

– It is not possible for tutors at Anglia Ruskin to monitor progress and provide regular formative feedback without visiting the students in placements.
– Identification of failing students is dependent upon mentors in practice contacting colleagues at Anglia Ruskin.
– Students & mentors do not receive regular communication with or formative feedback and feed-forward from personal tutors whilst in placement.
– Collecting and collating mentor details is time-consuming.
– Collating quality assurance information – e.g. ensuring timely completion of the induction programme and assessments – is challenging.
– Collecting, storing and retrieving data on student progress in practice is disjointed.
– Completion of time sheets in practice is a paper-based process, which requires monthly manual submission and checking by the placements office.
– Paper based records are environmentally unfriendly and bulky
– Paper records when lost cannot be replaced.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

The system, compared to the traditional paper-based alternatives, can enhance the ability of lecturers to support and monitor student progress while in placement on an individual and group basis. It has excellent potential to enhance the quality of practice learning, particularly practice assessment and closely support mentors with their role. This enhanced monitoring capability facilitates the rapid identification of and responsive communication with students at risk of failure – facilitating early intervention, a key contributor to retention and standard completion. MyProgress allows the personal tutor to review and support mentors’ engagement with assessment, ensuring consistent and reliable assessment of practice across multiple practice bases. Recommendation 19 from Health Education England ‘Shape of Caring Review’ (2015) states that to ensure a quality-learning environment for pre-registration nurses the NMC should explore the development of a national assessment framework. In addition, in order to widen access for care assistants who wish to enter nursing, HEE, in collaboration with employers and HEI’s, should support the development of more innovative work-based learning routes.

The decision to choose MyProgress, rather than alternative existing e-portfolios, was based on some unique solutions within this platform. It offers an approach to develop a national framework and is an innovation that has potential to support work-based learning routes. A key feature of the app-based system is that the competency framework can be completed in practice without the need for Internet/Wi-Fi access. This is essential given that networks within most trusts have strong firewalls. Also, governance requirements to ensure patient confidentiality and data protection may preclude access to local networks. For students placed in the community Internet access is frequently unavailable.

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

The innovation uses the MyProgress App developed by MyKnowedgemap. Anglia Ruskin is the first university to develop and use of the app for use in assessment of student nurses. The assessments are accessible both via a mobile tablet device and / or a personal computer.

To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?

A significant strength of MyProgress is that it facilitates improved academic practice by precluding the falsification of documentation through email-verified sign-off of assessments. Another advantage to MyProgress is that course leaders using an intuitive graphical user interface can easily customise the competency framework. This facilitates easy development and adaptation of the framework, at any time, to a range of different courses/access routes to the nursing profession. Alternative systems frequently require bespoke design by the software company, with potential delays and cost implications.

The following benefits have emerged from the pilot thus far:

– Increased communication & engagement with students and mentors.
– Student and mentor acquisition of digital literacy skills.
– App download is free for students’ own devices. Works on any platform.
– WiFi/Internet connection not required – device is synced when student returns home. As it is not running on hospital systems firewalls were proven not to be an issue.
– Mentors have access to their own portal and student assessments. This provides evidence for their triennial review and appraisal.
– Reports/metrics can be extracted from the system providing a range of quality assurance data.
– Ability to develop innovative ways to assess students e.g. OSCE function
– Attendance/ time sheets can be approved on the device and accessed remotely by HEI and digitally checked.
– Practice placement evaluations can be incorporated and collected.
– Development of a CPD portfolio for CV purposes.
– A bank of assessment tools /instruments can be established to prevent repetition for academics and increase sharing opportunities

What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?

Health Education East of England have commended the innovation and are supporting an extension of the project to include 25 students on a new work-based learning programme for nurses commencing March 2015, and 180 second year student nurses. The Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University presented the work as an example of excellence in assessment practice at the University Learning and Teaching Conference in June 2015.

To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?

The Anglia Ruskin University / JISC info toolkit presentation of the project:


Shaw, S., Evangelions. G., 2015. Using mobile devices to support mentor assessment of student nurse competence in practice. Networks; the Journal of Learning and Teaching, Anglia Ruskin University.

Shaw, S., Evangelinos G. 2015. Using mobile devices to support mentor assessment of student nurse competence in practice. Anglia Ruskin University learning and teaching conference

Shaw, S., Evangelinos G. 2015. Using mobile devices to support mentor assessment of student nurse competence in practice. MyProgress conference Anglia Ruskin University.

Shaw, S., Evangelinos G. 2015. Using mobile devices to support mentor assessment of student nurse competence in practice. MyKnowledge Map innovation in assessment conference, Nurses and Allied Health, York Railway Museum.

Shaw, S., Evangelinos G. 2015. Using mobile devices to support mentor assessment MyKnowledge Map Innovation in assessment conference for Medics, York Railway Museum. Student nurse competence in practice.

Shaw, S., Evangelinos G., 2015 JISC Info toolkit MyProgress Anglia Ruskin University.

Shaw, S. 2014. Use of digital media for practice assessment. Assessment Fiesta Anglia Learning and Teaching. [Online] available: https://myplayer.anglia.ac.uk/Play/2910. Accessed 9th July 2015

Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.

Case study for the Faculty Learning & Teaching website.

NB. The initial project was funded by Anglia Learning & Teaching.