Getting started

Induction overview

Welcome to your induction to the Open University (OU) pre-registration nursing programme. You are probably used to having a student nurse allocated to you for about eight to twelve weeks, or sometimes for a shorter period than this. As a mentor to an OU student nurse, you will support your student for planned practice learning periods. The student spends extended periods of time learning with you and other registered practitioners in your practice area and other practice areas to ensure s/he gains a rich and broad experience in preparation for becoming a registered practitioner. As your student develops in confidence and competence you will experience great role satisfaction knowing that you have been key to your student’s successful progress.

Read what other mentors have said about their role supporting OU nursing students (pdf).

Students who undertake the full programme will normally take four years three months to complete it.

In order to support you and your student, it is useful for your work team colleagues to understand the OU programme too. Do share the availability of this induction with your colleagues.

This induction should be of interest to practitioners if you are:

  • acting as mentor to an OU student nurse
  • working with a practice supervisor to support an OU student nurse
  • managing the team in an OU student nurse’s practice setting
  • a member of this team
  • a health care practitioner supporting a student outside their core-practice setting.

This induction focuses on providing you with essential information, which you can use to underpin how you support your OU student. As well as setting out the overall structure of the programme, it will highlight the way in which students’ practice experiences are organised so that you can plan how best to ensure that your student achieves the learning that is required. You are the key resource in all of this. Building your own understanding and developing new skills is a powerful tool for helping your student to do the same.

Where do I start?

Each key area starts with an overview and links to sections where you can complete self-contained pieces of learning. Browse through the content in any order you prefer. As you work through this resource record notes and ideas, which you can use formally or informally.

There are various activities included throughout the induction that help you to develop your skills and review your knowledge and understanding of the OU pre-registration nursing degree programme. You can use the templates provided and print off a copy for your own professional portfolio showing evidence of updating yourself as a mentor/supervisor, which you can use to demonstrate an annual update or to contribute to your triennial review. Designated OU mentors can also print off a record of Mentor Induction if you have accessed the online mentor induction by using an Open University Computer Username (OUCU). If you haven’t got one please contact your student’s Practice Tutor who will arrange this.

As well as working through the sections of this induction to prepare you for supporting your OU student effectively, you can also come back to the materials at any time to remind yourself about particular aspects of the programme or to refresh your understanding of key skills such as the application of practice assessment criteria. The resource will be available to you at any time, whilst you are supporting OU nursing students.

How much time do I need?

The entire induction should take approximately 6 hours to complete, however it has been designed so you can choose your own pace of learning and preferred topics on which to focus. You have the flexibility to work through this resource at the times that suit you: you could complete the induction in one day or in half-hour sessions over a number of days. The materials are designed to be completed at your computer (sections can be printed out to read elsewhere) in short periods – half-an-hour now and then at home or at work.


After completing this induction you will be able to:

  • outline the main components of the Open University pre-registration nursing degree programme;
  • recall the roles and responsibilities of OU student nurses and all those involved in supporting their progress through the programme;
  • recognise the key features of supporting OU students to successfully learn from and in practice;
  • confidently undertake assessment of your student in practice and complete the related documents in the student’s portfolio.

Next section: Useful documents