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Mentoring Programs May Improve Leadership Qualities Among Nurses

Doctor Nurse Reading


Every nurse remembers the day they finally met the registered nurse education requirements and learned that they were officially licensed and registered. You were excited to be able to apply all the knowledge and skills learned in nursing school into a “real world” clinical setting.


You may have faced feelings of uncertainty when you took your first nursing position. As a new nurse, you probably yearned for consistent guidance on the job. Even something as simple as a friendly face would have made a positive difference in your new position. Finding a way to support these feelings is something that becomes important on a daily basis in a new nurse’s work-a-day world.


Mentoring programs can help nurses gain the clinical leadership knowledge and skills they need to transition into advanced practice roles, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. 


Researchers from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, set out to determine whether formal mentoring programs can assist nurse practitioner candidates to develop clinical leadership competencies required in their advanced practice roles. For the study, 18 NP candidates and 17 senior nurses participated in a voluntary mentoring program that incorporated coaching and action learning over a period of 18 months in 2012 and 2013. Participants completed a questionnaire to document baseline measures of self-reported leadership practices before beginning the program and again at the end of the program. 


“The mentors and the nurse practitioner candidates qualitatively evaluated the program as successful and quantitative data illustrated significant improvement in self-reported leadership practices among the nurse practitioner candidates,” the authors wrote in the study’s abstract. “In particular, the nurse practitioner candidates reported greater competence in the transformational aspects of leadership, which is directly related to the nurse practitioner candidate clinical leadership standard.” 


The study found mentoring can enhance clinical leadership skills for nurses that are important for their success in advanced practice roles. “Nurse Managers should make greater use of mentoring programs to support nurses in their transition to new roles,” the authors wrote. The study also indicated the difference between nurse leadership and nurse management.


The role of each and every nurse is crucial to the success of the group in providing safe, quality care to their patients. Through the development of a mentoring program and implementation of educational lessons on lateral violence, new graduate nurses can learn leadership qualities, resulting in positive outcomes for not only the patient, but the new graduate nurse as well.


As mentoring becomes more common in healthcare organizations, the broad benefits of such programs will become visible and nursing will cease to eat its young.

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