The protégé and the sage: students’ perceptions of work-based mentoring experiences

  • M Harris
Keywords: mentor, mentee, work-based learning, scaffolding learning


Mentoring is offered as a supportive learning strategy within an educational programme for mature multi-cultural South African nurses. This paper considers the literature, describes mentoring within a nursing management course, and uses the findings to illustrate students’ mentoring experience through the following three themes: (1) Mentoring as a teaching strategy: Initial considerations; (2) Mentoring as a process; and (3) Consequences of mentoring as a teaching strategy. Self-reports, based on two questions, describe the perceptions 16 post-basic students have of mentoring as a means of scaffolded learning through the voicing of their ‘authentic’ experiences. This study forms a component of a larger qualitative case study of a management course using action research within the critical genre. A way forward is suggested that can promote both the mentor/mentee relationship and meaningful learning. Students paid particular attention to the difficulties of choosing mentors, engaging in and ‘negotiating’ the process and maintaining the relationship. They recognised the value of ‘special people’ (not necessarily in their discipline), in their professional development and noted the need for mutual commitment to the process to achieve mutual benefits.

Keywords: mentor; mentee; work-based learning; scaffolding learning


eISSN: 2071-9736