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‘Coaching and Peer Assisted Learning’ (C‐PAL) ‐ the mental health nursing student experience: a qualitative evaluationIntroduction: This paper presents findings from a study that evaluated mental health nursing students’ experience of a team mentoring model called Coaching and Peer Assisted Learning (C-PAL). At present there are no published research studies into the effectiveness of team mentorship utilised by nursing students within inpatient mental health settings. Aim: The study utilised an interpretist methodology where the focus was on individuals in their social world. Method: Two focus groups were held with fifteen students who had experienced C-PAL in four in-patient wards. Findings: Students’ overall experience of piloting C-PAL was positive. Learning opportunities (Theme 3) appeared to be dependent on the quality of peer support (Theme 5) which in turn, enhanced the learner experience and increased the level of student confidence (Theme 6). Less positive experiences included inadequate preparation (Theme 1), poor understanding of the model and competition for learning experiences. Implications for practice: We tentatively suggest that team mentorship models such as C-PAL may be suitable for acute in-patient mental health settings. The success of C-PAL depends upon the preparation of nursing staff, mentors (Theme 4), coaches and students in relation to role expectations, shift rostering (Theme 2) and the implementation of ‘huddling’ to promote opportunistic learning.