Mentorship in Nursing

Mentorship is a term that is used frequently and in many different contexts. Mentorship has been used to describe a relationship between an adult and child, teacher, and student, or between peers. According to Bowen mentorship is a shared commitment that takes place over time between a mentor and protégé. The mentor supports the protégé both emotionally and with the sharing of knowledge and advice. Mentors will also use their influence to assist in progressing the career of their protégé.

There are specific characteristics that distinguish mentorship from other types of learning relationships such as preceptorship. However, the term mentorship and preceptorship are often used interchangeably despite repeated attempts to clarify the two concepts in the literature.6,7 Preceptorship can be defined as a structured, assigned relationship between a student and an experienced professional with a set beginning and end for the purpose of transferring knowledge and skills from the experienced professional to the student.4,8,9 The length of time spent in a precepting relationship is usually much shorter, whereas a mentoring relationship has no defined end and can last for months, years, or a lifetime.

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A self-selection process is one of the defining attributes of mentorship.

The term mentorship is a familiar one in the context of nursing. Preceptorship is a term often used to refer to the clinical internships of a nursing student whereas mentorship is a term used to refer to a peer to peer learning relationship and is frequently used for new nursing graduates transitioning into practice.

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As new nursing graduate turnover rates are exceptionally high during their first two years of practice and with the lack of socialization being the most cited reason, mentorship is a common strategy used to support new nursing graduates.

Many experienced nurses, who are mentors, experience burnout as a result of the constant demand to orient new nursing graduates. This constant churn within a health care organization can be disruptive, cause a drop in staff morale, increase overall turnover rates, and negatively impact nurse satisfaction rates. Furthermore, an important concern is a link between patient satisfaction rates and nurse satisfaction rates. Finally, the financial cost associated with orienting each new nursing graduate is reported to be as high as 30,000 to 50,000 Canadian dollars. Thus, the high turnover rate of new graduates can have a significant impact on an organization.

Although much has been written about the outcomes of mentorship, there has been little research conducted in nursing related to how new graduates and mentors enter into a mentoring relationship. Interestingly, mention of pairing processes in the literature is secondary to the evaluation of mentorship or transition programs. These included self-selection, pairing using a tool, and pairing by a third party.

New nursing graduates face a complex and challenging transition to professional practice. The plight of new nursing graduates is often addressed with the implementation of transition programs in an attempt to prevent attrition, increase job satisfaction, increase confidence and skill acquirement, and professional development. Mentorship is commonly used as part of transition programs to assist new nursing graduates in their transition from student to practicing nurse. Though there is little information available in nursing to guide the pairing process and ways to support or facilitate the mentoring relationship.

A preliminary search of PROSPERO, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Joanna Briggs Institute Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports was conducted. No current or underway systematic reviews on the topic were identified.

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Mentorship in Nursing. (2020, Sep 28). Retrieved from

Mentorship in Nursing

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