Mentorship In Nursing

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Mentorship in Nursing

Mentorship in Nursing


A shortage OF nursing faculty is imminent. In Canada, more than 400 faculty members were recruited in 2004, with projections of an additional 500 faculty vacancies in 2005. Factors contributing to this looming crisis include inadequate numbers of available potential faculty. In 2004, graduates of Canadian master's and doctoral programs numbered less than 500. Moreover, the aging professoriate is a reality; the proportion of aging nursing educators exceeds the rest of the aging nursing workforce ([Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, 2005] and [Canadian Institute of Health Information, 2004]). Projections indicate that retirements and resignations will drastically reduce this workforce within the next few years (Emerson & Records, 2005). Also, the salary gap between nursing educators and their clinical counterparts is increasing at an unprecedented rate, thus contributing to the issues of recruitment and retention.

New faculty often faces a multitude of stressors. Sorcinelli (1994) noted a dramatic increase in newcomer work stress over the 5 years of a longitudinal study of new faculty. Common themes and concerns reported included time constraints in research and teaching; lack of collegial relationships; inadequate feedback, recognition, and reward; unrealistic expectations; insufficient resources; and lack of balance between work and personal life ([Brendtro and Hegge, 2000] and [Sorcinelli, 1994]). Similarly, most nurses are inadequately prepared for the multiple roles and expectations of academia and consequently are less likely to assume and/or remain in the teaching role (deYoung & Bliss, 1995). Therefore, new strategies for recruitment and retention are central to the ongoing integrity of nursing education.

Mentorship capacitates and enriches the transition to the teaching role. Therefore, mentoring novice nursing educators within formal programs has never been more relevant and timely ([Diekelman, 2002] and [Pololi et al., 2002]). Furthermore, “accepting responsibility for mentorship of other faculty members and students, either naturally or by appointment moves a school towards excellence” (Brown et al., 1995, p. 29). Although there is a substantive body of literature related to mentorship within the academic milieu, the focus tends to be on career development and success. There is a dearth of publications specifically related to the mentoring of nurses as educators. Moreover, although caring theory is central to most nursing curricula, it is generally not reflected in the mentorship programs of novice educators.

The purpose of our research project was to undertake a mentoring needs assessment of our nursing faculty. The overall goal of this research was to establish the foundation for a caring mentoring environment within a nursing faculty.


The term mentor originated in Greek mythology and was derived from the writings of Homer in his poem, The Odyssey. Odysseus entrusted his son, Telemakhos, to his faithful advisor, Mentor, when he went to war. Mentor was a guide, teacher, tutor, and father figure to Telemakhos ([Sands et al., 2006] and [Smith et al., 2001]). In keeping with this myth, a mentor is often described as a “wise, experienced, and faithful advisor to an aspiring professional” (Thorpe & Kalischuk, 2003, p. ...
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