Mentoring Relationship Preferences of Early, Middle, and Late Career Stage Registered Nurses
Registered nurses perceive the healthcare work environment as stressful. Stress can have a negative effect on patient care and nurses' attrition and health. In the literature, mentors have been identified as having a positive influence on nurses. This qualitative study was an examination of nurses in mentoring relationships in the early, middle, and late career stage and working in a hospital setting. Two research questions addressed mentoring relationship preferences and mentors' influence on perceived stress. Fourteen nurses were interviewed in the study. The conceptual framework was based on the career and psychosocial mentoring theory, the mentoring the adult learner theory, and the attachment theory. Data were analyzed electronically and manually into intuitively and inductively derived themes. The results of the study related to preferences showed nurses prefer mentors to be in the work setting, mentors to help nurses develop nursing competencies, and mentors to help nurses develop a positive self-concept. The difference among the nurses in the career stages was the type of competencies developed. The nurses identified that mentors had a positive influence on the perception of stress through the development of emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills with similarities and differences in the type of challenges nurses' experience. The implications for future research are studies with nurses working in other healthcare settings and quantitative studies to measure levels of stress with and without a mentor. Implications for practice are the development of mentoring programs where career stages and perception of stress are addressed. Limitations of this study were the setting and sample size. Implications for social change include the development of humanistic approaches to mentoring to address nurses' challenges and stressors in the healthcare work environment.