Novice Nurse Mentorship

I would like to create more unity and support throughout the nursing team, and I was thinking of creating a mentorship program for novice nurses. What practice expectations highlight an RN’s responsibility to engage in mentorship and support novice nurses in the unit?

  • RNs are accountable and accept responsibility for their own actions and decisions (1).
  • RNs demonstrate effective collaborative practice, including communication, problem-solving strategies, decision-making and conflict resolution (2). Sharing these skills with novice nurses enhances their skill development and supports a trusting relationship between colleagues.
  • RNs articulate the authority and scope of practice of the RN (3).
  • RNs provide and support leadership in nursing for optimal coordination and provision of care (4).
  • RNs contribute to health care team functioning by applying group communication theory principles and group process skills (5).
  • RNs collaborate with other health care providers and others to maximize health benefits to persons receiving care and with health care needs and concerns, recognizing and respecting the knowledge, skills and perspectives of all (6).
  • RNs provide constructive feedback to promote professional growth of other members of the healthcare team (7).
  • RNs share their knowledge and provide feedback, mentorship and guidance for the professional development of nursing students, novice nurses, other nurses and other health care providers (8).

Sometimes I find that the RNs are reluctant to accept a formal mentorship role, even though I see evidence of these RNs informally mentoring novice staff in the unit. Is there a list of benefits to mentorship that I might be able to share with them to encourage them to participate?

It may be valuable for you or a task force on the unit to research this topic. Sometimes when RNs invest time and energy to discover the benefits that have been highlighted in nursing research, then share what they have learned, there may be more commitment to the process. Many benefits to mentorship have been studied, such as:

  • Better patient outcomes are often linked to units that provide mentorship and invest in the development and support of novice nurses;
  • Mentoring is often a reciprocal relationship where both parties learn and improve their nursing practice;
  • Leadership skills can be fostered;
  • Mentorship can decrease the transition time for novice nurses who are consolidating their assessment and decision-making skills and fine-tuning their nursing judgment in the clinical setting;
  • Mentorship can promote the retention of RNs in the workforce, supports unit stability by reducing nursing staff turnover, and can increase overall satisfaction at work; and,
  • It can promote diversity within the nursing workforce of a unit/facility.

CRNS Resources

Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017)

Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)

Registered Nurse Entry-Level Competencies (2019)


Resource Key
1Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 1, page 4
2Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 5, page 4
3Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 39, page 6
4Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 40, page 6
5Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 48, page 6
6Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics (2017) B4, page 10
7Registered Nurse Entry-level Competencies (2019)Competency 6.9, page 11
8Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics (2017) G9, page 17
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