An exploration of undergraduate nursing students' experiences of mentorship in an Irish hospital

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BACKGROUND: Mentorship is the support model of choice for nursing practice in Ireland and although it follows a similar approach to that provided thus far in the UK, there is little available evidence about the students' lived experience of mentorship and the extent to which it facilitates their development.

AIM: To explore undergraduate nursing students' experiences of mentorship in hospital.

METHOD: The study used a qualitative approach. Newell and Burnard's (2011) 6-stage pragmatic approach to qualitative data analysis guided the collection and analysis of data. A purposive sample of six was drawn from fourth-year students who participated in a semi-structured interview.

FINDINGS: Six main categories emerged from the data: reality versus expectation of mentorship; student's perception of self; personal feelings and expectations of mentorship; perception of workload; barriers and enablers of mentorship; student perceptions of mentor preparedness. Interpersonal relationships between student and mentor were a pivotal concept in all of the categories. Despite its flaws, participants felt that the concept of mentorship was valuable and worthwhile.

CONCLUSION: This study has shown that the personal and interpersonal aspects of mentorship can have both positive and negative effects on the participants' development as nurses. Although students felt that they achieved their learning outcomes, there were times when this was despite guidance from their mentors. Although this was a small study, the generalisability of the findings and conclusions to similar clinical contexts is likely to be high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-817
Number of pages6
JournalBritish journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)
Issue number15
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 MA Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Mentors - education
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Student nurses' experience
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate
  • Students, Nursing
  • Mentorship
  • Clinical placements
  • Student nurses? experience


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