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Contributing to a culture of learning: A Mentor Development and Support Project for Australian rural nurses

Authors

  • Jane Mills PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Research Fellow (NHMRC), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Victoria, Australia 3842
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  • Donna Lennon RN BhSc MRCNA MCN,

    1. National Project Officer, Mentor Development & Support Project, Australian Rural Nurses and Midwives, Deakin, Australian Capital Territory, Australia 2600
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  • Karen Francis PhD

    1. Professor of Rural Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Victoria, Australia 3842
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Jane Mills, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, PO Box 450, Smithfield, Qld 4878, Australia. Email: jane.e.mills@bigpond.com

Abstract

Mentoring in rural and remote nursing receives little attention in the literature, even though it is emerging in Australia as a popular strategy to improve the retention of staff. The Association for Australian Rural Nurses established a 2-year Mentor Development and Support Project in 2003 with the aim of promoting mentoring among rural and remote nurses. During the life of the project, 101 such nurses attended Mentor Development Workshops. This project demonstrated that training is an important prerequisite for rural and remote nurses who are planning to enter a mentoring relationship. Participant evaluation showed an increase in mentoring knowledge and skills and a subsequent rise in confidence about undertaking the role. Participants also believed that their increased capacity to mentor was reflected in their workplaces, contributing to a positive culture of learning.

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