Positioning mentorship within Australian nursing contexts: a literature review

Contemp Nurse. 2006 Oct;23(1):120-34. doi: 10.5172/conu.2006.23.1.120.


There are a variety of structured and unstructured supportive relationships available to nurses. Internationally, nurses commonly use preceptorship, clinical supervision, and mentorship to meet distinct needs and provide differing levels of commitment, intensity, and enabling functions. Of particular interest to the nursing profession is the use of mentoring relationships to support nurses in achieving leadership positions. In Australia, preceptorship and clinical supervision are freely used and understood by nurses however, mentoring relationships are less readily applied, and agreed meanings and understanding are lacking. This paper will explore the range of supportive relationships available to nurses. The terms used to define and describe these relationships, and how these relationships are contextualised, will be explored in order to better understand the position of mentorship for nurses in Australia. The potential value of mentorship in developing nursing leadership in Australia will also be identified.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Leadership
  • Mentors* / education
  • Mentors* / psychology
  • Nurse Administrators / education
  • Nurse Administrators / psychology
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Staff / education
  • Nursing Staff / psychology
  • Nursing, Supervisory / organization & administration
  • Preceptorship / organization & administration*
  • Social Support