Generating leadership through mentoring

Dr Andrea McCloughen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Mental Health, was keynote speaker at the University of Western Sydney’s inaugural FLAMES Academy on Tuesday 23 November, 2010.

FLAMES (Fostering Leadership and Mentoring Expertise in Students) is strategy for supporting growth of the next generation of nursing and midwifery leaders, particularly targeting higher degree research students. With a multidisciplinary and research focus, the all-day event included a range of speakers and interactive workshops.

The topic of Andrea’s keynote address was Mentorship for Leadership Generativity, which highlights her PhD work exploring how Australian nurse leaders experienced and conceptualised mentorship for leadership.

According to Andrea, “mentoring relationships are powerful and dynamic alliances that promote personal and professional development. It is a way for nurses to gain professional competence and success across a range of nursing contexts ... [and] a supportive mechanism for growing nurse leaders and sustaining the future of the nursing profession”.

Other speakers at the FLAMES Academy included Professor Rhonda Griffiths (Head of School, UWS), A/Professor Hannah Dahlen (President, Australian College of Midwives), Professor Roger Watson (Chair in Nursing, University of Sheffield) and Dr Elizabeth Halcomb (UWS).

Abstract: Mentorship for Leadership generativity

Mentoring relationships are acknowledged as powerful and dynamic alliances that promote personal and professional development. Mentorship is identified as a way for nurses to gain professional competence and success across a range of nursing contexts. Specifically mentorship has gained prominence as a supportive mechanism for growing nurse leaders and sustaining the future of the nursing profession.

In this study, Australian nurse leader participants shared through conversational narrative, their subjective experiences of mentorship. From the conversations, integrated experiential structures central to mentorship for nurse leadership were developed. These themes highlighted connection as an essential component of mentoring relationships. Themes were further examined to find deeper meanings and to construct an authentic explanation of this phenomenon of being in the world. The lived experience of mentorship for nurse leadership was understood and described through the motifs of imagination, journey and mode-of-being. The study illuminated the connection between mentorship and leadership and revealed these to be integrated ways of being in the world. Mentorship for nurse leadership was recognised as growing out of the past and present and being orientated toward the future, in particular, its generative impact was recognised.