Faculty Mentoring, Mentorship, Nurse Faculty



  1. Martin, Jennifer B.
  2. Douglas, Dianna H.


Abstract: Mentoring is a way to foster personal and professional career development within professional disciplines such as nursing. The National League for Nursing has described the nurse faculty role as multidimensional and difficult to balance. A school of nursing implemented a faculty mentorship program focused on the school's core values: caring, professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, and excellence (CPRIDE). This program combines traditional and nontraditional mentoring models to create an environment in which junior faculty form relationships with senior faculty who possess expertise in a particular field.


Article Content

The first account of mentoring dates back to the Trojan War when Odysseus, king of Ithaca, entrusted the care of his household to his friend Mentor, who served as teacher and overseer of his son, Telemachus. Since that time, the word mentoring has been attributed to any activity in which a more senior, powerful, and experienced person encourages and guides the career of someone more junior or less experienced through an ongoing relationship.


The novice to expert theory, a construct first proposed by Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1980) and later applied to nursing by Benner (1984), can be applied to mentoring. Dreyfus (2004) suggested that mentors play a crucial role in accelerating the path from novice to expert and fostering growth, especially in the advanced beginner stage when there is a need for guidance with new and/or unfamiliar experiences. As experienced (expert) faculty mentors impart knowledge gained through years of experience and inspire novice faculty on their continuous evolution to expert, novice faculty are able to achieve the expert role and become mentors to others.


Mentoring is the reciprocal and collective learning relationship between two individuals with common goals and shared accountability for the outcomes of the relationship. As described by the National League for Nursing (NLN, 2005), the nursing faculty role has a multidimensional nature that can be difficult to balance. A formal and effective mentoring program is recognized as a critical component in the success of nurse faculty across the career continuum (Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, 2012).



A school of nursing (SON) located in the Southeast United States implemented a faculty mentorship program focused on the school's core values: caring, professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, and excellence (CPRIDE). The CPRIDE Faculty Mentorship Program strives to provide ongoing professional and personal development for nurse faculty in the areas of teaching, practice, research/scholarship, service, and organizational quality throughout the career continuum. Faculty had articulated a need for a formal mentoring program in their annual evaluations, and the SON included operationalization of the mentoring program into its strategic map (2014-2016). The CPRIDE program was developed, implemented, and evaluated by the SON Faculty Life Committee. Participation is voluntary for both mentors and mentees, and no penalty is incurred for not participating.


The goals of the CPRIDE program include developing supportive and encouraging relationships; guiding nurse faculty in their professional, personal, and interpersonal growth; promoting mutuality and sharing based on the needs of the mentor and mentee; and communicating information concerning expectations, learning opportunities, and stressors. The SON is committed to developing faculty at all professorial ranks using a structured mentorship program in alliance with the five pillars of its strategic map: teaching, practice, research/scholarship, service, and organizational quality; promoting faculty achievement of the full potential of personal and professional goals; providing resources to maintain the program; and implementing, monitoring, and conducting regular evaluations.


The CPRIDE program aims to combine traditional with the nontraditional mentoring models to create an environment in which junior faculty can seek out opportunities to meet with senior faculty members with the most expertise in a particular field. The model is configured as is a tiger paw. The center circle of the paw contains the core values of the SON that support the strategic map. The outer circles connect to the center circle, symbolizing the core values upon which the program is founded. (The model is available as Supplemental Digital Content at



The mentor's primary purpose is to assist the mentee with learning the role and its expectations and the sociopolitical environment and culture of the school and university in a less formal manner than during new employee orientation. The focus of the relationship is on personal and professional goal attainment. The mentor functions as a preceptor and facilitator in the achievement of goals and as a guide in establishing the criteria by which a successful relationship is developed and evaluated. The mentor must create an inviting environment that permits the mentee to be comfortable enough to voice relevant concerns and needs and nurture a personal connection of mutual trust, caring, and respect. Successful mentees are willing to assume responsibility for their own learning and growth by seeking out challenging assignments and situations. The mentee must be receptive to feedback and coaching by the mentor (Nies & Troutman-Jordan, 2012). If the desired feedback is not received, the mentee must be assertive in requesting such feedback.


Accountability is the most important quality for a CPRIDE mentee to possess. The mentee must live up to promises and commitments and, over time, learn to achieve a balance between independence and reliance on the mentor. Through the program, mentees will feel replenished and inspired to make a difference in their nursing role.


Both the mentor and mentee share mutual benefits through the mentoring relationship. Mentorship programs improve proficiency, enhance confidence, increase decision-making ability, and facilitate personal and professional growth for the mentor and mentee. Job satisfaction is increased, and productivity of both is increased (Mijares, Baxley, & Bond, 2013). Mentoring empowers the mentor and the mentee, and empowerment enhances their motivation, creativity, and professional (Hodgson & Scanlan, 2013).



The mentoring relationship and process are carefully monitored on a regular basis to ensure their effectiveness and to resolve potential conflicts prior to their becoming detrimental to the relationship. Not all mentoring relationships endure or remain unchanged. If the relationship is no longer working, a dissolution may be necessary, and the mentor/mentee can agree to a "no-fault, opt out" option.


Throughout the CPRIDE program, mentees and mentors monitor the progress of the process at regular intervals, exchanging feedback regarding strengths of the program, quality of the interpersonal dynamics, progress made to date, areas for improvement, and future direction. The mentor and mentee formally evaluate the relationship at the conclusion of six months. At the end of 12 months, the mentor and mentee formally evaluate the strengths and limitations of the program as linked to the program's goals, as well as their relationship. The barrier to success most often identified is finding sufficient time to devote to the relationship.


Formal evaluation of the CPRIDE program was conducted after one year. Among mentee goals, common themes were as follows: learn faculty and academic role and responsibilities; publishing; learn organization structure and culture; learn higher education, budgeting, grant writing, and assuming a leadership role in the SON. Some goals identified by the mentors included helping junior colleagues, sharing expertise, and growing and developing personally and professionally.


The frequency of mentoring meetings varied greatly within the cohort; however, the average frequency among dyads was once monthly. The most beneficial aspects of the mentorship as reported by mentors and mentees were face-to-face meetings; writing, collaboration, and networking; talking about challenges in the academic environment; sharing of resources; and sharing perspectives.


The overall CPRIDE program evaluation was positive for the following items: facilitating strategic pillars, personal/professional goals, application process, administrative support and resources for the program, and overall organization of the program. When asked if they would recommend the program to other faculty, all mentors and mentees answered yes. All reported being "very satisfied" with the CPRIDE program.


Recommendations for improvement, as reported by mentors and mentees, included designated time for meetings, new-employee toolkit, mentor-mentee roundtable to share ideas and experiences, interdisciplinary mentoring, more organized and focused activities, and opportunities for mentor development. The committee responsible for implementation reviewed the recommendations and developed and implemented a faculty tool kit. The committee is in the process of scheduling monthly roundtables to share ideas and innovations.



The lack of qualified nursing faculty is of national concern. Therefore, it is imperative that steps be taken to recruit and retain qualified nurse educators and nursing faculty. According to an NLN (2015) faculty census survey, fewer than 50 percent (33 percent) of nursing faculty hold doctoral degrees. However, academic institutions require nursing faculty to demonstrate excellence in scholarship and teaching for retention, promotion, and tenure. With the number of retirements anticipated in the next decade, it is estimated that there will be many new and inexperienced faculty entering the workforce who will be overwhelmed by expectations to present, publish, and conduct research. The benefit of a formal and effective mentoring program is recognized as critical to the success of nurse faculty across the career continuum.




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