Undergraduate nursing education involves the development of safe and effective practice through theoretical and clinical experience. This requires effective relationships between the higher education institution (HEI), clinical mentors and students.
Literature reports that mentors hold various views of their role including knowledge of pedagogy and fluency of reflection, evaluation, and assessment skills. However, other evidence claims that mentors are inadequately prepared to work with students secondary to the unclarity of role expectations, role conflict, work overload, and lack of support. The clinical mentor is crucial to ensure that students are fit for practice and thus need to be supported throughout.
In its fifth year, the Northumbria University BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies in conjunction with the Malta College of Art, Science, and Technology is facing a challenge: that of forming new foundations and frameworks for the future of nursing practice. This includes adequate support for clinical mentors.
This purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of support received by clinical nursing mentors whilst mentoring undergraduate nursing students. This will be explored by addressing the following objectives:
1. Explore the clinical mentors' understanding of the concept of support
2. Explore the clinical mentors' perception on the current level of support they receive
3. Identify any challenges and barriers clinical mentors experience whilst mentoring undergraduate nursing students.
4. Explore the type and level of support clinical mentors require to effectively mentor undergraduate nursing students
This research will serve to support the main research design of a project that will create a supporting program for clinical nursing mentors.
Clinical nursing mentors employed with the MCAST with a minimum of twelve months experience of mentoring will be invited to participate in a semi-structured interview which is informed by recent research about the topic. The data will be analyzed thematically using an inductive approach where researchers, without any pre-conceptions, immerse into the data for generation of themes. This research is subject to ethical approval from the MCAST Research Ethics committee and will adhere to all ethical research principles.