Mentoring as an Educational Strategy: Building Nurses' Capacity as Evidence-Based Knowledge Professionals

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Heather McConnell, RN, BScN, MA(Ed)
International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Programs, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), Toronto, ON, Canada
Irmajean Bajnok, RN, MSN, PhD
International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Programs, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada
Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, Oont
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada

Learning Objective 1: gain knowledge of the key elements of a nurse mentoring educational program that supports the development of nurses as knowledge professionals.

Learning Objective 2: describe the impact of an educational fellowship that supports nurses engaged in educational opportunities with a goal of developing clinical, leadership or guideline implementation skills.

The Advanced Clinical/Practice Fellowship Program (ACPF) is a highly successful program that is designed to provide an extensive mentoring experience for registered nurses wishing to increase clinical knowledge, leadership or guideline implementation skills.   This Ontario initiative is designed to: improve patient/client care and outcomes; contribute to the retention and recruitment of nurses by valuing expert knowledge and experience, and by providing professional development opportunities; and support strategic directions of government health policy, health care organizations and the nursing profession.

This poster presentation will highlight the key components of this unique educational mentoring program – the fellow, the mentor and the sponsoring organization – and how a common vision between these components leads to the success of the Fellowship.  The types of Fellowship opportunities (clinical, leadership [education, policy, research, management] and guideline implementation) will be discussed in relation to how they have been designed to support an evidence-based practice culture, and what impact they have had on outcomes at the clinical and system level.   

The benefits of the Fellowships will be emphasized, which include recognition of the needs of all the participants, including the fellows, mentors and sponsoring organizations.  Participants will gain an appreciation of this unique educational approach to supporting the use of evidence-informed practice across the domains of nursing.