An Exploration of Mentoring Within Ultrasound Clinical Practice
Brown, Naomi Ann
This study aimed to investigate the factors that affect the mentoring of ultrasound students during the clinical element of their postgraduate programme of study. Specific focus was placed on guidelines and support mechanisms that may be shown to be effective in helping colleagues and students in mentoring practice along with considering the factors that may influence the relationship between the mentors and students. An investigation was undertaken to explore the mentoring and supervision practices in current use. This led to an in-depth study of the attitudes and opinions of students and mentors in relation to mentoring practice. A mixed methods approach was utilised. Questionnaires were distributed to mentors, and students were invited to attend semi-structured interviews. A thematic approach to analysis gave rise to three main themes: the blurring of role boundaries, a difference in expectations and the importance of the relationship between student and mentor. An attitude rating score was performed on the student interview data: when compared to the mentor findings, it was surmised that where the student and the mentor showed empathy regarding each other’s role and expectations, the student displayed a more positive attitude towards mentoring. Conversely, where the student and the mentor had little empathy, the student displayed a more negative attitude towards mentoring. This identified that there is importance in understanding each other’s perspective and expectations, in order to lead to an effective mentoring experience and therefore develop a more positive attitude towards mentoring. The key concepts that arose were that of the intertwining of support, training and supervision encompassed within the mentoring role. The study findings facilitated development of increased support mechanisms and formative assessment for students, along with updated guidelines and training for mentors.