Mentoring Up: A Classical Grounded Theory Exploring the Proteges Perceptions of Nurse-to-Nurse Mentoring
Hale, Regina Lynn
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Mentoring is widely advocated as a positive relationship in the nursing literature. The literature abounds with opinion-based, descriptive articles addressing mentoring, however few articles are theoretically and research based. The entire process of mentoring relationships in nursing has not been studied, resulting in a significant gap in the literature. The current research on mentoring in nursing has focused on two broad areas: mentor characteristics and the outcomes of mentoring. The purpose of this Classical Grounded Theory study was to understand the experience of mentoring from the perspective of the nurse protégé in the clinical setting and generate a substantive theory related to mentoring in clinical nursing. The Classical Grounded Theory procedures of constant comparative analysis, coding, theoretical sampling, and memoing (Glaser, 1978, 1998, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014; Glaser & Strauss, 1967) were used to analyze interview data collected from fifteen nurse protégés. The substantive theory, Mentoring Up, emerged from the data. The participants’ main concern, confidencing, is resolved by Mentoring Up, a process consisting of five phases with reciprocal interactions. Three dimensions of mentoring relationships, earnest intentions, filial bond, and trust-worthiness are threaded throughout the five phases of Mentoring Up: seeding, opening, laddering, equalizing, and reframing. Mentoring Up provides a theoretical explanation of the processes involved in mentoring, guiding protégés and mentors through reciprocal interactions that occur over five phases. The present study is the first to explore protégés’ perspectives of mentoring and discover confidencing as the protégés’ main concern, and a rich, dense theory, Mentoring Up, that illuminates the resolution of their main concern. Mentoring Up provides a theoretical framework for future mentoring research in nursing and other disciplines, and sets the stage for formal theory development. The study findings may contribute to a broader body of literature by providing multiple disciplines with new knowledge, insights, and theoretical propositions needed for designing mentoring research, developing mentoring programs, and supporting mentoring relationships. A theoretical understanding of nurse-to-nurse mentoring fills a gap in the current nursing literature and provides a framework for future research on mentorship in nursing.