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Successful Mentoring in Nursing

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Title: Successful Mentoring in Nursing

Authors: Liz Aston & Paula Hallam

Publisher: Learning Matters Ltd, 2011

Reviewer: Mrs Candy Cooley, national genetics awareness programme manager, NHS National Genetics Education & Development Centre

What was it like?

This book is designed to support the mentor how to develop the skills and knowledge of a “good” mentor. There is early acknowledgement in the book that while most students, and now qualified staff, can remember mentors who may have inspired them and developed them as excellent practitioners, there are also memories of mentors who have shown little interest in them as students. The book begins with a definition of where mentoring came from and how it has developed within nursing from the ENB definition in 1989 as student selected to befriend, advise and counsel the student but not assess them.  Then in 2001 this was revised by the ENB and DH as a mentor being someone who facilitates learning, and more recently in 2006 and 2008 the NMC set guidelines and standards for the role of the mentor with a “live” register for mentors undertaking the ten-day preparation programme.


This title , within the nine chapters, also discusses some key areas from dealing with challenging students to adopting a lifelong approach to mentoring. Each chapter begins with the NMC mentor domain and the NHS knowledge and skills framework levels. It also has specific aims for each section and a summary of the chapter. In a way the book achieves two things, support for the mentor and ways of acting as a role model for practice and secondly giving practical ways for getting the best from the student.

What were the highlights? 

This is an inclusive guide for professionals aiming to be part of the mentor programme. A series of case studies and activities build a comprehensive manual to support the mentorship programme.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This book contains a number of case studies and activities, which make it interesting and interactive. It is particularly good that the answers to the activities are found at the end of each section. Each chapter flows but can be used in isolation if the mentor wishes to develop specific areas of their practice. There is a comprehensive reference list at the end of the book, although it is sometimes hard to find the chapter they relate to. In places the number of activities mid text can make reading the book a little disjointed.

Who should read it?

It is aimed specifically at mentors but could also be used by students who want to ensure they are receiving the most appropriate support from their mentor. It can also be helpful to all health professionals supporting students in practice.

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