The recent increase in published work relating to the supervision of nurses and in particular mentorship suggests that nurses value the opportunities that such schemes present for developing practice. Much of the literature surrounding mentorship concerns the supervision of students in practice settings but more recently, especially following the changes to post-registration education, attention has shifted to the supervision of qualified nurses. Although the principles of supervision for students and qualified nurses are the same, differences do occur in supervisory practices. This review examines the literature associated with the supervision of student nurses and focuses on the nature and practice of mentorship in practice settings. The literature reveals that confusion exists regarding both the concept of mentorship and the role of the mentor. Many authors propose models or frameworks for mentoring activities. These tend to outline the stages of the mentoring process and the relationship between mentor and mentee. No one model is seen as more appropriate than another and choice usually depends upon the mentor's familiarity with a particular framework. It is also evident that there is inconsistency in the length and level of preparatory courses for mentors. As yet there is in the United Kingdom no national minimum requirement or common preparation route and in practice mentors are prepared by way of the appropriate National Board Teaching and Assessing module and/or short local 2-day course.