Continuing connections: The experiences of retired and senior working nurse mentors

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2010, 19 (23-24), pp. 3547 - 3554
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Aims and objectives: This paper reports the benefits and challenges of a mentoring programme through which retired and senior nurses continued to support and nurture nurses and midwives currently working in the health system. Background: Nursing has an ageing workforce and faces significant loss of expertise because of retirements. Previously, mentoring programmes have been instituted in a range of nursing contexts and they have been a retention strategy for older nurses and midwives. Design: Mentors and their mentees worked together towards mutually agreed on professional and personal goals. They were asked to meet or speak together a minimum of twice per month for at least six months. Method: As part of a collective case study, 15 mentoring dyads were established. Participants and mentors took part in qualitative, semi-structured interviews about their perceptions and experiences of the mentoring programme. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Mentors reported the mentoring experience to be rewarding experience that enabled them to re-connect with nursing-related activities and brought new challenges in retirement. They perceived the mentees were visibly helped by their support and influence. Conclusions: The mentors studied reinforced a positive self-concept as nurses and midwives in their mentees and assisted their development. Retired nurses and midwives in particular may have several characteristics that make them effective mentors. Relevance to clinical practice: Potential benefits are demonstrated for nurses and midwives vulnerable to workplace adversity, especially those new to Australia who may have limited professional and social networks. For health organisations, mentoring programmes may be an innovative method of retention that engages both mid-career nurses and midwives and those recently retired. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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