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Mentoring in academia: Will it help retain nursing's numbers?

Mentoring in academia: Will it help retain nursing
Photo: Mentoring in academia: Will it help retain nursing
Looking to study the effect mentorship in nursing academia would have on stemming the decreasing number of nurses and nursing faculty in the field, researchers from the Cumming School of Nursing at the University of Calgary are planning a mixed-methods systematic review to appraise evidence for mentoring programs in nursing academia.

“This study is the first systematic review of existing global evidence for mentorship in nursing academia. It will help identify key evidence gaps and inform the development and implementation of mentorship interventions,” wrote lead author Lorelli Nowell with the University of Calgary.

Researchers will examine studies that look at the effectiveness of mentoring programs with nursing faculty who teach RN education programs. Outcomes in mentee, mentor and education institutional outcomes will be explored.
The team will use electronic databases like Medline, CINAHL and ERIC and explore gray literature like conference proceedings and organizational websites for evidence.

“Using pilot-tested screening and data extraction forms, two reviewers will independently review the studies in three steps: (1) abstract/title screening, (2) full-text screening of accepted studies, and (3) data extraction of accepted studies,” Nowell and team wrote.

Nursing faculty shortages are just one of many challenges facing nursing education today and receives less media coverage than the shortage of nurses tends to. Despite the lack of public awareness, the authors contend, the problem is no less critical.

“The shortage of qualified nursing faculty is an issue of local, national, and international concern and is anticipated to worsen,” the authors wrote.

Constituting 51 percent of all healthcare providers in the world, nurses are the largest healthcare professional group and diminished nursing faculty directly impacts the ability to admit and graduate the necessary number of students for the nursing workforce.

Additionally, nursing faculty shortage has negative implications for nursing research and its influence.

“Generation, dissemination, and application of evidence is essential to maintain and expand any discipline, and the recognition of nursing as a profession and academic discipline is greatly dependent on evidence-based practice, with nursing knowledge imparted through education and advanced through scholarship,” the researchers wrote.

Mentorship intervention has been shown to help retain nursing faculty in previous evidenced-base studies.

“Nursing education institutions that have established mentoring programs reported positive outcomes for nursing faculty such as improved morale, higher career satisfaction, increased self-confidence, increased professional development, increased publication, obtaining more grants, and quicker promotion,” Nowell et al wrote.

The University of Calgary study will identify key considerations for future research on mentorship in nursing academia, as well.

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