Made in My Image: a Grounded Theory of Shaping and Moulding Mentorship Practice Through Persuasion and Influence

  • Claire A. McGuinness

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The role of the mentor in practice is well recognised nationally and internationally and is considered pivotal in ensuring the quality of nursing students’ learning experiences. United Kingdom’s (UK) Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fully implemented revised mentorship standards in 2008, changing the landscape of mentor preparation from this point forward. This change included expectations that existing mentors would support registrants learning the mentor role in practice. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has since coined the term “supervising mentor”; now used by many across the profession and throughout the UK. Despite this, the work of supervising mentors remains under researched. Recognition by those in the profession that mentors are nursing workforce gatekeepers, ensuring student nurses are fit for practice at the point of registration, confirms the vital importance of the supervising mentor role and its’ contribution to this preparation.

The objectives of this research were therefore:

• Through interaction with supervising mentors, explore their interpretive perspective of their work in the role, generating a grounded theory of the supervising mentor role

• To develop, recommendations for mentorship and the future practice of supervising mentors, both locally and nationally, and identify areas for future research in this area

A constructivist grounded theory research design, informed by a symbolic interactionist theoretical framework, was adopted. A recruitment questionnaire supported purposive and theoretical sampling leading to 16 in-depth semi-structured interviews with those undertaking the supervising mentor role in practice. Theoretical sufficiency was achieved and the basic social psychological process (core category) of shaping and moulding was identified as taking place within a basic social structural process of influence. Both are facilitated and enhanced through persuasion. Four sub-categories of shaping and moulding were identified as; taking on the role; setting parameters; making sure and identifying and recognising.

This thesis lays bare the complexity of the supervising mentor role, including the challenges and opportunities which present for mentorship. The findings are timely as NMC is currentlyr eviewing both standards for undergraduate nursing education and mentorship preparation.Recommendations for practice and future research take account of this shifting landscape.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorKay Currie (Supervisor)

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