Introduction: Creating a supportive clinical learning environment (CLE) is one of the characteristics of an effective clinical instructor in nursing. Perhaps empowering novice clinical educators using mentorship method can reduce or resolve this problem. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of the mentorship program for novice clinical educators on the nursing students' actual and preferred understanding of CLE.
Methods: This quasi-experimental study on three groups was conducted as post-intervention with the participation of 139 undergraduate nursing students of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Sampling was done via stratified and multi-stage method. Students were placed in three groups: expert clinical educator (n=47), novice clinical educator (n=51), and mentorship (n=41). In the novice and expert clinical educator groups, training was conducted through the conventional method. In the mentorship group, a novice clinical educator (mentee) and an expert clinical educator (mentor) had a mentoring relationship for two weeks. The Chan (2001) CLE inventory was completed at the end of the first and second weeks of externship. Data were analyzed through SPSS v. 16 software using one-way ANOVA and paired t-tests.
Results: The students of the three groups were homogeneous in terms of gender (p=0.101) and level of interest in the field (p=0.278). According to the result of the paired t-test, the difference in the mean score of the actual and preferred CLE at the end of the first week was statistically significant in the novice clinical educators (p=0.008) and the mentorship group (p=0.04); however, after the implementation of mentorship program (at the end of the second week), the difference was significant only in the novice educators group (p=0.001).
Conclusion: The implementation of the mentorship program for novice clinical educators (as with the expert educators group) could lead to a reduction in the mismatch between the actual and preferred views of students about the CLE. Thus, it is recommended that this method should be used under conditions of shortage of expert educators to create a supportive CLE.
Keywords: Educators; Environment; Learning; Mentors; Nursing student.
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