Nursing student evaluations on the quality of mentoring support in individual, dual and group approaches during clinical training: a prospective cohort study

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Ivana Gusar
Kristina Bačkov
Andrea Tokić
Boris Dželalija
Robert Lovrić


mentor, mentorship, nursing students, satisfaction, training support


Objective: To examine how Bachelor of Science nursing students evaluate the quality of mentoring support during clinical training using three different types of mentoring approaches. Background: The mentoring approach and the mentor–student relationship are important factors that determine nursing students’ satisfaction with their clinical experience. However, there are significant differences in the approaches to mentoring in nursing, and there is no global consensus around a universal form of mentorship. Study design and methods: The participants were first-year Bachelor of Science students (n = 86) divided into three groups exposed to three different mentoring approaches: Group 1 = dual (two mentors/ group of students); Group 2 = individual (one mentor/ one student); Group 3 = group (one mentor/group of students). The validated Mentor Support Evaluation Questionnaire (MSEQ) was used to assess the quality of mentoring support. Results: Students from Group 2 reported a significantly higher level of mentoring support quality (P < 0.01; M = 4.8; SD = 0.32) in comparison to students from Group 1 (M = 4.1; SD = 0.66) and students from Group 3 (M = 3.32; SD = 1.71). Discussion: Nursing students  exposed to different mentoring approaches vary in their reported quality of mentoring support. The highest quality of mentoring support was reported by students in the individual approach, and the lowest quality of mentoring support was reported by students mentored in a group of four to six students by a single mentor. In the individual approach, the students highlighted the continuous availability of the mentor, recognition of personal study needs, respect, safety, appreciation, and patience. Conclusion: The approach to mentoring is an important factor that affects students’ satisfaction with their clinical experience, and in return it influences achievement of final learning outcomes and professional development of students.

Implications for research, policy, and practice: The results of this study emphasize the importance individualizing the mentorship process in order to increase students’ satisfaction and lead to more successful acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These results also indicate the need to continuously monitor student evaluations of the quality of mentoring support and their overall satisfaction with the mentoring approach during clinical training. A future qualitative, longitudinal, mixed-methods study is recommended in order to investigate and describe the specific and (in)direct causes of student (dis)satisfaction in the mentor–student relationship.

What is already known about the topic? There are different types of mentor approaches in nursing education. Comparisons of students’ perceptions of mentor–student relationships in different mentoring approaches, such as individual, dual, or group mentoring, represent an under-researched area.

What this paper adds: Findings from this study provide evidence to better understanding the specific advantages and disadvantages of mentor–student relationships in individual, dual, and group approaches from the students’ point of view.

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