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Title: The influence of peer mentoring on critical care nursing students' learning outcomes
Authors: Beepat, Somavathy Yvonne 
Issue Date: Jun-2015
Critical care nursing is one of the most stressful specialities in the nursing
profession that involves caring for patients who are suffering with life
threatening illness or injuries. The highly technological environment where
critical care nursing is rendered is associated with a great amount of stress,
frustration and burnout. The critical care nursing student needs to be
prepared, mentored and supported for the role transition from student to
professional nurse. Nursing education and training cannot succeed without
proper theory and practice integration. Therefore, the critical care nursing
environment should be supportive of the improvement of teaching and
learning. Peer mentoring is one important strategy to help foster an
environment that is supportive of the critical care nursing student, allowing
them to grow and succeed as experts within the speciality of critical care
Aim of the study
The aim of the study was to explore the influence of peer mentoring on critical
care nursing students’ learning outcomes in critical care units in KwaZulu-
A qualitative exploratory research design was used to conduct the study. Ten
nurses were recruited from the critical care units in five private and two public
hospitals. Descriptions of their experiences were gained through individual
face-to-face interviews. The broad question to the participants was: “What
influence does peer mentoring have on the critical nurses’ learning outcomes
in the critical care unit?”
The findings of the study revealed that peer mentoring is a vital strategy in
helping the critical care nursing students to attain their learning outcomes so
that they will be proficient in the critical care unit. Peer mentoring was
however, not consistent in all hospitals and the critical care nursing students
were not given the necessary support and supervision. There were no
structured support systems in place to ensure that peer mentoring was
formalized and that all required nursing personnel took on the responsibility to
teach and facilitate learning for critical care nursing students.
Recommendations were made with regards to policy development, service
provision, nursing education and research. These include that a formalized
mentorship programme should be incorporated into the core competencies of
all qualified critical care nurses, and to be reflected in their performance
appraisal in order to motivate the registered nurses to fulfil their independent
function as teachers. Each unit mentor should familiarize him/herself with the
prescribed learning objectives of the critical care nursing student in order to be
able to delegate appropriately so that learning outcomes are achieved by the
mentee. There should be an allocation of supernumerary time for the critical
care nursing student and their mentor to allow time for formal mentoring
responsibilities to take place away from the clinical area, to facilitate
assessment and feedback, and enhance consolidation. Ongoing evidencebased
practice research should be conducted on this topic, to provide more
information on how peer mentoring effects the mentee, nursing education and
retention of skilled staff.
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree in Masters of Technology in Nursing, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2015.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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