Mentorship provision for student nurses: Conceptions of Finnish and British mentors in healthcare placements

Merja Jokelainen, David Jamookeeah, Kerttu Tossavainen, Hannele Turunen


Background: The unification process for clinical education in Europe seeks to standardise the attainment of competencies by students and effective mentorship is central to this.

Aim: This paper is a report on a study describing Finnish and British mentors’ conceptions of mentorship provision for pre-registration nursing students during placement learning in healthcare settings.

Methods: This qualitative study adopted a phenomenographical approach, which focused on the different ways mentorship provision for student nurses were experienced. Conceptions data from Finnish (n=22) and British (n=17) mentors were collected from nine focus group interviews between 2007 and 2008.

Findings: The mentors’ conceptions consisted of dimensions of organisational, environmental, educational and personal provisions, which connected to three categories of description: workable, insufficient and improvement-requiring mentorship. The workable student mentorship included efficient organisations, well-equipped learning environments, co-operative partnerships and the mentors’ personal and professional competence. The insufficient student mentorship was characterised by deficient managerial investments, overloaded placements with stressed staff, unsatisfying co-operation with stakeholders and lack of resources and personal skills of mentors. The improvement-requiring mentorship emphasized higher status and clearer guidelines for mentorship, appropriate placement allocation with joint involvement of stakeholders, better level of student preparedness, and more educational and personal resources for mentors.

Conclusion: There is a need to create a systematic, collaborative and highly valued strategy for mentorship provision for pre-registration nursing students in the healthcare settings. This would increase the quality of placement learning, enhance recruitment of the nursing workforce and also harmonise clinical education in Europe.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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