Boosting Oncology Nursing: The Power of Mentorship

This text is based on the article Examining the Effects of a Structured Mentorship Program on the Nurse Mentor: A Pilot Study Engaging Oncology Nurses, published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing in February 2022

In the world of oncology nursing, where the shortage of experienced nurses is a concern, a recent study brings promising news. It explores the impact of mentorship programmes, not just on novice nurses but also on the mentors themselves. The study involved 11 oncology RNs serving as mentors in a year-long programme, revealing positive outcomes in combating burnout and compassion fatigue.

The results show a clear connection between mentorship participation and positive changes for mentors, including improved satisfaction in helping others, reduced burnout, and a stronger sense of unity in the workplace. What is remarkable is the qualitative feedback from mentors expressing newfound confidence, professional growth, and a decrease in burnout. This suggests that mentorship programmes, usually designed to support new staff, can also be a powerful way to uplift experienced nursing professionals.

For those concerned with nurse retention in cancer care, incorporating structured mentorship programmes could be a game-changer. Not only does it provide a solution to the predicted shortage of nurses, but it also creates a positive impact on job satisfaction and the overall work environment. The insights from this study make a compelling case for healthcare institutions, particularly in oncology, to invest in mentorship initiatives as a strategic approach to support and retain their valuable nursing staff.

Mentorship programmes emerge as a promising tool in the field of oncology nursing. Beyond addressing staffing challenges, these programmes prove to be a source of rejuvenation and growth for mentors themselves. As the healthcare community seeks innovative solutions, structured mentorship could offer a new approach to not only retain experienced nurses but also to foster a resilient and cohesive workforce in cancer care.

This text is part of the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) repository of best practices and innovations to address the cancer workforce crisis in Europe. You can find more examples of best practices here.