Developing Faculty-Student Mentor-Mentee Relationships in a DNP Program

Monday, 9 November 2015: 3:15 PM

Nancy Neff Manister, DNS, MSN, BSN, RN, FNP-BC
School of Nursing, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, USA
Keville C. Frederickson, EdD, RN, FAAN
Lienhard School of Nursing, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY, USA

The mentoring relationships have been identified as an important influence on professional success.  Numerous studies in nursing have described the process and effects, beginning with the relationship between a faculty member and student.  As the DNP is a rapidly expanding and evolving educational phenomenon, little is known about this faculty-student relationship.  Increasing from eight to two-hundred and forty three programs over the last ten years, there is a need to examine the faculty-student mentoring relationship, and it’s effectiveness in assisting DNP students to achieve their end goals.  As a clinical doctorate, the literature on the research-focused doctorates is useful in informing the mentorship relationship at the doctoral level but more must be known about the variations in student-faculty mentoring for the DNP.

The purpose of this project was to design, implement and evaluate a strategy that would address the development of a faculty student mentoring program in one DNP program.  A workshop was developed to increase knowledge regarding the process and experiences of mentors and mentees in the DNP program setting, and to strengthen this relationship.  This workshop was designed to formalize the mentor-mentee relationship in the DNP, based on concepts from The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (Kouzes & Pozner, 2012): Model the way; Inspire a shared vision; Challenge the process; Enable other to act; and Encourage the Heart, as well as other leadership and mentoring concepts.

DNP students who were within one to two years of program completion, selected a faculty mentor and attended a 4 hour workshop with their mentor.  Students described the needs that could be fulfilled by faculty mentors, the qualities that they most valued in their faculty mentor, mentor expectations, and mentee contributions to the relationship as part of a pre-workshop assessment.  Likewise, mentors noted factors that were important to the mentor-mentee relationship, such as: expected mentor contributions to the relationship, mentee qualities, mentee expectations, and personal mentoring experience as part of their pre-workshop assessment.  Students and mentors both valued the opportunity to strengthen the mentor-mentee relationship in this workshop.  Evaluations included high marks for relevance and usefulness, and team exercises were viewed positively.

This information is important to nursing as it informs DNP faculty and students on mentoring role expectations, and contributions that each may make to develop a successful mentoring relationship.  Additionally, this presentation includes concepts that may be used to strengthen the faculty-student mentoring relationship in DNP programs.