Novice Nontraditional Nurses' Lived Experience in a Mentoring Relationship: A Phenomenological Study

Novice Nontraditional Nurses' Lived Experience in a Mentoring Relationship: A Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Deborah J. Dillard
Program of study: 
Ph.D./NUR
Abstract: 
This hermeneutic phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of the nontraditional novice nurse in a mentoring relationship. The general problem addressed by the study was the increasing numbers of new nursing graduates leaving the profession within the first few years of practice. The specific problem of focus was the lack of nursing mentorship. This lack of mentorship may result in nurses who are deficient in skills needed to adapt to the stressors of the day-to-day responsibilities of nursing practice. Using Watson’s caring theory as the conceptual framework, the study explored participants’ lived experiences as new graduates, challenged with joining a professional workforce currently facing a global nursing shortage. The daily stressors new nurses confront in healthcare today may impact job satisfaction, nurse burnout, nurse recruitment, and nurse retention. Participants shared their lived experiences of being mentored as novice nurses transitioning from student to graduate nurse, traversing the novice-to-expert continuum in healthcare facilities. The lived experiences of nontraditional novice nurses provided valuable insight to the importance and role of mentoring in the transition to graduate novice nurse. Results from this study support recommendation for positive change in the nursing profession and nursing education. Findings suggest mentoring had a positive influence on the successful transition of the 12 nontraditional students to nontraditional novice nurse, entering the novice-to-expert continuum. To ensure nontraditional novice nurses flourish and remain in nursing practice, nurse leaders must develop mentoring programs with a caring framework that support: positive relationships, knowledge exchange, professional development, opportunities to aquire self-efficacy, and a safe bullying free work environment.
Dedication: 
I dedicate the completion of this dissertation to my mother, Dorothy, my one and only hero. Only you were more proud of my accomplishments than I, and for that I am so grateful; it was the incentive I needed to keep growing. I also dedicate the completion of this process to my daughters, Ebonie and Essence: you both have been my motivation to continue to soar. Remember, don’t do as I say, do as I do. Finally, I dedicate this dissertation to my sisters: Jackie, Toni, and Janet, and my brother James. Thank you all for your support and encouragement and for allowing me to be the Big Sis. I know without all of you behind, beside, and pulling in front of me, this journey would not have been successful.
Acknowledgements: 
First and foremost, thank you God for making this incredible journey possible! I would like to acknowledge, thank and give the highest praise to my Committee Chair for her kindness, encouragement, and guidance throughout this entire Dissertation journey. Jean Watson’s Caring Theory was the theoretical framework for my study. What a blessing it was to have a Committee Chair with the same caring qualities defined by Jean Watson to mentor and guide me through this incredible process. Dr. Brett thank you, thank you, and thank you for all the caring and positive feedback you provided. To the other members of my Dissertation Committee, Dr. Mullen and Dr. Beck-Little my deepest gratitude for your feedback and constructive critique of my work. Dr. Mullen your expertise in phenomenological studies was greatly appreciated in the feedback you provided to ensure I was on the right path. Dr. Beck-Little thank you for providing your expertise in qualitative studies in the feedback you provided. Without the guidance, positive feedback and encouragement provided by my Dissertation Committee I know I would not be here at this final junction in this journey. I would also like to acknowledge James Forrest, Col (Retired) USAF, for his understanding and encouragement when I told him I was returning to school to obtain my PhD. Colonel (Jim) you were the best of the best, a positive role model for all who served under your command. You were a true example of what a mentor should be to a mentee. To my family especially my daughters Ebonie and Essence thank you all for hanging in there with me through it all. Ebonie and Essence I hope you both follow my lead. Most importantly, thank you God for giving me the desire, the motivation and the fortitude to keep going even during the tough times. I am so very happy to say, I did it!