The necessity for the improvement of quality and safety of health care is an essential aspect of the modern day health care industry. Quality healthcare is one in which the services offered increase the probability of achieving desired health outcome and consistent with modern professional knowledge. Measuring the quality of health care presents a challenge due to different actors in the industry as medical errors result from not only from human error, but also faulty systems and processes. Professional nurses face myriad of challenges as it is one of the most stressful profession especially critical care nurses. This results from demands of critical care that lead to quick burnout and frustrations. Therefore, providing effective mentorship is a valuable tool when recruiting, increasing job satisfaction and ensuring retention. If new nurses are not mentored, it may result into high turnover due to extreme frustration.
Evidence based practice is trending in the nursing profession as its scientific approach provides the health care industry with practices that contain costs and ensure improvement in the quality of health care. Health care quality is measured through observation of the structures, processes and outcomes. Nursing is among the core resources used in measuring the quality of health care in terms of their numbers and advanced training. Effective mentorship of nurses has the probability of improving professional development, improve job satisfaction and empower nurses, nursing graduates, educators and nursing leaders. This result to an improved nursing care improving ensuring high quality health care improving the outcomes of the health care system.
Improving the skills and the professional development of nurses is core in the reduction of human errors and provision of a high quality health care. Professional mentorship and encouragement in the nursing fosters professional growth and development enabling nurses to work effectively. Although mentorship has been used interchangeably with coaching and preceptorship it is slightly different from both, although they may result into mentorship. Mentorship in nursing enables new nurses deal and cope with a myriad of challenges such as horizontal violence characterized with scapegoating, undermining, passive aggression, insubordination and physical aggression among others. Therefore, mentors facilitate new nurses to deal with not only nursing challenges, but also organizational challenges.
Mentoring supports theory based nursing as the relationship between a new nurse and a mentor can be explained using attachment theory. The attachment theory defines the mentoring relationship as special, intense and personal, where experienced trusted and advanced nurses provide guidance and support to the less experienced. The mentor combines aspects of a leader, teacher, facilitator and a teacher explaining the complexity and uniqueness of each relationship. Mentoring as a nursing learning style provides promotes the integration of theory into practice.
The implementation of mentoring in nursing practice not benefits the quality of health care and as a practice of evidence based practice it also provides economic benefits in the health care sector. For example, mentoring has been observed to increase job satisfaction, which increases the productivity of nurses through improved performance. This has the impact of reducing hidden costs that result from low productivity of nurses. Additionally, mentoring is a retention strategy adopted to reduce turnover of nurses. Increased turnover has an economic impact as it requires training of other nurses increasing the operating costs.
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