Nursing Student Peer Mentorship: The Importance of Professional Relationships
Nursing students face numerous challenges and stressors related to the dynamics within the academic, psycho-social, and health care environments. Peer mentoring has the potential to support nursing students with these challenges by providing academic and psychosocial support, which may increase retention in the programme and student wellbeing. The focus of this article is on peer mentors’ and mentees’ views of professional relationships as an essential requirement to create and maintain an effective peer mentoring programme. The aim of the study is to support the design and implementation of a peer mentoring programme to enhance students’ academic success in an undergraduate nursing programme. It is thus important to determine students’ views about the relationship that would create a supportive environment for them. A descriptive qualitative research design was used. A purposive sample of 20 participants participated in semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups with peer mentors and mentees in an undergraduate nursing programme. Measures to ensure trustworthiness and ethical research were implemented. The importance of professional relationships as the glue that holds a peer mentoring programme together emerged. In order to establish the professional relationship, participants explained the importance of boundaries in the relationship, commitment toward the programme by all role players, and the qualities required of a mentor. Recommendations were made for training mentors and mentees in establishing and maintaining boundaries, negotiating relationship contracts, and developing the qualities required of mentors.