This position statement was archived on 11/7/2012 and AMSN recommends using its current mentoring resources to facilitate mentoring programs.


  • Mentoring relationships nurture commitment and teamwork.
  • Mentoring is a valuable method that can be used to attract and retain nurses in health care.
  • Professional organizations and health care institutions should establish and promote mentorship training and utilization.


Mentorship utilizes a supportive relationship to increase knowledge and skills, and meet personal goals of the mentee. Mentorship can be utilized to increase staff satisfaction and retention, both for novices and experienced nurses, because it creates a supportive, positive practice environment where nurses want to come to work. It is distinguished from preceptorship in part by the length of the relationship.

Academicians and futurists predict the shortage of registered nurses in the United States will increase to 340,000 by the year 2020 (Auerbach, Buerhaus, & Staiger, 2007). In addition, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (2000) expects the demand for nurses to reach 2.8 million full-time equivalents by 2020. Because mentoring programs provide support for new nurses and enhance the practice of experienced nurses, they can be important in bringing qualified persons into nursing and retaining them in the profession.


AMSN supports mentoring as an avenue for professional growth and development that establishes loyalty and collegiality among medical-surgical nurses.


Mentoringfocuses on human relations by building a connection between an experienced nurse (mentor) and a novice nurse (mentee), and serves as a strategy for transfer of skills and knowledge.

Mentoris an individual whose qualities, abilities, and skills are emulated by others; the term has come to designate a trusted advisor, teacher, or wise person.

Novice nurse or menteeis a newly graduated or newly hired nurse.

Preceptorship is a role undertaken by an experienced staff member to orient a novice or newly hired nurse to a new practice setting; the relationship is considered to cease when orientation of the new staff member has been completed.


Firtko, A., Knox, N., & Stewart, R. (2005). Understanding mentoring and preceptorship: Clarifying the quagmire. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 19(1-2), 32-40.

Kanaskie, M. L. (2006). Mentoring - A staff retention tool. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, 29(3), 248-252.

McKinley, M. (2004). Mentoring matters: Creating, connecting, empowering. AACN Clinical Issues, 15(2), 205-214.

Auerbach, D. I., Buerhaus, P. I., & Staiger, D. O. (2007). Better late than never: Workforce supply implications of late entry into nursing. Health Affairs, 26(3), 853-862.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). (2000). The Registered Nurse Population, March 2000: Findings from The National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. Washington, DC: Author.