Walking with another: Rural nurses' experiences of mentoring

Jane Mills, Karen Francis, Ann Bonner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The aim of this constructivist grounded theory study was to explore rural nurses' experiences of mentoring. Mentoring is often proposed as a solution to the problem of nursing workforce shortages. The global problem of workforce for nurses can be defined using the parameters of recruitment and retention rates, 'problems' with which result in staff shortages, particularly of experienced nurses. Constructivist grounded theory has its foundations in relativism and an appreciation of the multiple truths and realities of subjectivism. Seven Australian rural nurses were interviewed.To ensure data saturation of particular categories and the fit of tentative theoretical conceptualisations, two participants were interviewed twice with no new codes identified from the subsequent interviews. Cultivating and growing new or novice rural nurses was the core category which conceptualised a two-part process consisting of getting to know a stranger and walking with another. Supportive relationships such as mentoring were found to be an existing, integral part of experienced rural nurses' practice ' initiated by living and working in the same community. In this grounded theory, cultivating and growing is conceptualised as the core category. A two-part process was identified ' getting to know a stranger and walkingwith another. This paper examines one of these subcategories, walking with another, relating the ways in which experienced rural nurses walk with another by firstly keeping things in perspective for new or novice rural nurses, and secondly using a particular form of language called nurse chat. For experienced rural nurses, mentoring in this way delivers a number of different outcomes with various nurses. Because it is a part of the experienced rural nurse's practice on an ongoing basis, individual mentoring relationships do not provide an end in relation to this nurse's experiencesof mentoring, rather they are part of an ongoing experience. Creatisupportive environments that include developing relationships such as mentoring is a potential solution to local staffing needs that does not require intensive resources. Experienced nurses engaged in clinical practice have the potential to cultivate and grow new or novice nurses ' many already do so. Recognising their role and providing support as well as development opportunities will bring about a cycle of mentoring within the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-35
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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