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Mentoring, self-efficacy and nurse practitioner students

Eileen Frances Hayes, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This descriptive, correlational study explored the relationship between nurse practitioner students' (NPSs') (N = 238) perceptions of mentoring by their nurse practitioner preceptors (NPPs') and NPSs' self-efficacy. Bandura's Self-Efficacy Theory (1977) and Role Theory provided the theoretical framework. NPSs in this study overall were highly mentored and highly self-efficacious as their mentoring and self-efficacy scores demonstrate (mean mentoring scores = 4.3, range 1-5; mean self-efficacy scores = 4.15, range 1-5). Significant findings (p. =.0000) included a positive correlation between mentoring and self-efficacy (r =.37), positive correlations between two measures of mentoring (r =.81) and two measures of self-efficacy (r =.54), higher self-efficacy scores among mentored NPSs (mean = 4.4) compared with non-mentored NPSs (mean = 3.9) (p. =.00006), and significant differences in mentoring scores (p. =.029) among NPSs depending on the manner of the initiation of the NPS/NPP relationship. NPSs who chose NPPs whom they knew from a previous relationship had higher mentoring scores (mean = 4.5, p. =.031) than those who accepted faculty assignment (mean = 4.2). Multiple regression analysis showed that the mediating variables most predictive of increases in mentoring scores included NPSs' length of time in the clinical practicum (p. =.025) and the precepting experience of the NPPs (p =.042). Nine characteristics of mentoring emerged from interview data with selected NPSs (n = 33), whose experience contrasted sharply with that of the non-mentored. The interviewed NPSs confirmed that they were well mentored in direct patient care by humanistic NPs or MDs, but they rarely saw or participated in other advanced practice nursing activities. The interviews also suggested difficulties in NPS/NPP relationships for NPSs whose age varied widely from that of the NPP, very young and inexperienced NPSs, older NPSs who have not practiced clinically for sometime, or NPSs who were experts in another nursing role previously. NPSs' choice of NPPs whom they knew from a prior relationship, length of time in the practicum, NPP precepting experience, age and experience of NPSs have implications for the clinical placement of NPSs. Capacity of NPPs to model fully the advanced practice nursing role remains an issue and NPP preparation as part of NPS graduate study may be one way to address this problem.

Subject Area

Nursing|Health education

Recommended Citation

Hayes, Eileen Frances, "Mentoring, self-efficacy and nurse practitioner students" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9737534.