Nursing students' experiences of mentorship in their final placement

Robert Thomson, Angie Docherty, Raymond Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The aim of this study was to explore final-year students' experiences of the mentorship role in their final placement and, in particular, to establish their expectations of the mentorship role, as well as their support and supervision needs.

Method: Seven final-placement students were recruited from one Scottish university, using purposive sampling. Heideggerian phenomenology was chosen as the underpinning philosophical approach because of its emphasis on the ‘lived experience’. Data were generated using unstructured interviews and analysed using a modified version of Colaizzi's procedural steps.

Results: Five themes emerged from the data: ‘being more independent’, ‘support’, ‘belongingness’, ‘feedback’ and ‘anticipatory anxiety’.

Discussion: Participants who had a positive experience of mentorship were exposed to a ‘good’ learning environment. As a result, they felt supported, received adequate opportunities to practise management skills, had a sense of ‘belonging’ within the nursing team and had regular feedback. Those who had a negative experience complained of not getting the opportunity to develop essential management skills and being dismissed for trying to be proactive. In addition, feedback was reported to be lacking. This experience resulted in reduced confidence levels, which left them feeling unprepared for the transition to registered nurse.

Conclusion: The clinical learning environment itself and support from the mentor are key factors that influence student preparation for registration. Without this level of support, students may be left feeling unprepared to deal with the transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-521
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number9
Early online date11 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2017


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