What do Critical care nurses perceive as barriers to mentorship within the critical care environment
Objective: The aim of this study is to establish what nurses working within a critical care environment at a tertiary level hospital in New Zealand perceive as barriers to mentorship. Background: Traditionally the critical care specialty has enjoyed the luxury of employing nurses with a depth of experience in critical care. The growth of this specialty combined with a nursing shortage impacting on all areas of nursing has seen the employment of inexperienced nurses into the critical care environment. The literature discusses the importance of mentorship to nursing as a tool in creating supportive environments for professional and personal growth, as well as assisting the novice nurse move towards expertise within their chosen field. A literature review undertaken revealed a number of perceived barriers to mentorship in acute environments. However there is a paucity of research seeking what critical care nurses perceive to be barriers to mentorship within the critical care environment at a local level, within New Zealand. Design: This thesis seeks to describe the perceptions and experiences of a sample of nurses working in a critical care tertiary referral center in New Zealand engaged in mentorship of new staff and/or student nurses. This descriptive study utilizing a survey method seeks to answer the research question; ‘what do critical care nurses perceive as barriers to mentorship within the critical care environment’? Results: Descriptive statistical and content data analysis has identified key barriers in four main areas which are ‘the impact that clinical workload has on the provision of mentorship’, the barrier of what is perceived to be appropriate ‘acknowledgement of the mentorship role’, the barrier that ‘assessment of new and student nurses’ presents to mentors, as well as the ‘training and knowledge opportunities for mentors’ in relation to mentorship within the clinical setting. Conclusions: Valuable insights have been gained through this study, allowing recommendations to be made for the future support of nurses undertaking the role of mentorship within the critical care environment. Supporting nurses balancing an often complex clinical workload with mentoring responsibilities is required to promote and support positive mentoring relationships to occur. Acknowledgement of the mentorship role undertaken by nurses within the area was perceived to be important to participants. Further clarification of the ‘tangible’ acknowledgement available for nurse mentors from the organization is recommended to contribute to nurses feeling acknowledged for the role they undertake. Understanding and completing assessment requirements for both the student and novice nurse in critical care was found to be the most difficult aspect of mentorship for participants. A lack of clarity in terminology between such roles as mentor and preceptor appears to contribute to this finding. Robust training and support is required for nurses mentoring students within the clinical setting, particularly in regards to assessment requirements. This training and support is also required for nurses expected to undertake skills assessment of the novice nurse within this area. Opportunities for nurse mentors within the area to access training and knowledge must be encouraged and taken up wherever possible. Relevance to practice: By providing useful data for nursing leaders about barriers to mentorship within the specialty of critical care, support may be given to developing successful mentoring relationships that contribute to nursing expertise. Developing a skilled workforce may increase staff retention and help meet the future challenges within healthcare.
Advisor: Richardson, Sandy kathryn
Degree Name: Master of Health Sciences
Degree Discipline: Centre for Post Graduate Nursing studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Mentorship; barriers; critical; care; descriptive; survey; method
Research Type: Thesis