University of Oulu

Anna-Maria Tuomikoski, Heidi Ruotsalainen, Kristina Mikkonen, Jouko Miettunen, Maria Kääriäinen, The competence of nurse mentors in mentoring students in clinical practice – A cross-sectional study, Nurse Education Today, Volume 71, 2018, Pages 78-83, ISSN 0260-6917,

The competence of nurse mentors in mentoring students in clinical practice : a cross-sectional study

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Author: Tuomikoski, Anna-Maria1; Ruotsalainen, Heidi2,3; Mikkonen, Kristina2,3;
Organizations: 1Nursing Research Foundation, Finland
2Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, Finland
4Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Finland
5Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, University Hospital of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-09-19


Background: Nurses play an important role in developing the competence of nursing students and acting as role models for students during clinical practice placements. Nurses need diverse competence to successfully mentor nursing student.

Objectives: This study aimed to describe and explain nurse mentor competence in mentoring nursing students in clinical practice settings based on self-evaluation, as well as identify different mentor profiles.

Design: This study employed a cross-sectional, descriptive design involving a self-administered electronic version of the Mentor Competence Instrument.

Settings: The study population included nurse mentors from all five university hospitals in Finland.

Participants: Through random sampling, 3355 nurse mentors were invited to take part in the study in 2016.

Methods: Data was collected using Mentors Competence Instrument, which consists of 63 items structured in 10 mentoring competence categories.

Results: Mentors (n = 576) evaluated their level of competence in various categories as middle- to high-level. They evaluated reflection during mentoring and identifying a student’s need for mentoring the highest, whereas student-centered evaluation and supporting a student’s learning process were rated lowest. Three distinct profiles of mentor competence were identified. These profiles differed in evaluation of mentoring competence level, previous participation in mentoring education, and time spent on reflective discussions with students.

Conclusions: According to their profiles, mentors have diverse needs for support in building their mentoring competence. We suggest that healthcare organizations should provide nursing mentors with education that is based on their individual levels of mentoring competence. Nurses should also be encouraged to use time for reflective discussion with students during clinical practice.

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Series: Nurse education today
ISSN: 0260-6917
ISSN-E: 1532-2793
ISSN-L: 0260-6917
Volume: 71
Pages: 78 - 83
DOI: 10.1016/j.nedt.2018.09.008
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license