Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

Western Kentucky University

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Siegrist, Beverly

Author's Keywords

Mentoring; Nurse managers; Rural nursing; Rural health care


Mentoring in nursing; Nurse administrators--Training of; Rural nursing; Rural hospitals


The aim of this study was to examine rural nurse managers' experiences with mentoring once assuming their new management role. This research study used qualitative methods to examine mentoring experiences in relatively new and inexperienced nurse managers in the rural setting. Social Learning Theory was used as the theoretical framework, and the conceptual framework consisted of Stewart and Krueger's (1996) concept analysis ofmentoring in nursing. Stewart and Krueger's concept analysis identified the following six essential attributes of mentoring in nursing: a teaching-learning process, a reciprocal role, a career development relationship, a knowledge or competence differential between participants, a duration of several years, and a resonating phenomenon. Ten nurse managers working in six different rural hospitals in southcentral Kentucky were interviewed for this study. While mentoring had occurred for participants, it occurred at varying degrees. Six of the participants reported mentoring relationships consistent with Vance and Davidhizar's (1996) definition of mentoring used for this study. Three participants reported being mentored once assuming their new role; however, further discussion with the nurse manager revealed a relationship more consistent with receiving training or having a temporary preceptor. One participant understood the meaning of mentoring, but she was unable to identify a mentor since assuming her role as nurse manager. Data analysis of this study's participant responses revealed several common themes: difficult transition to management role; perceptions of having a mentor; desirable traits of a mentor; investing time in people and training; and discovering individual leadership style on the job. Responses showed the importance of mentoring and that it was valued by new managers. Further research in the needs of new managers could help hospitals do more to help the new manager feel supported, which would contribute to the manager's longevity in the position.