This paper is the second of two which together report on a 2-year research project (Davies et al. 1994) investigating the implementation and impact of introducing mentors in the Common Foundation Programme of the new scheme for preregistration nurse education. The study was commissioned by the Department of Health and undertaken on an all-Wales basis. The first paper (Phillips et al. 1996) set the scene by discussing some underlying issues to policy reforms in nurse education, then placing the study setting within the context of a changing scenario in the National Health Service. The key techniques of data collection were then outlined (interviews, diary accounts, questionnaires, observations in clinical settings). This second paper will present the key themes to emerge from the data and suggest some important issues which arise from the findings of the research, worthy of further consideration and debate.