Original Research

Mentoring community service nurses in public health settings: Guidelines for nurse managers

Sisinyana H. Khunou
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 28 | a1883 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v28i0.1883 | © 2023 Sisinyana H. Khunou | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2021 | Published: 15 February 2023

About the author(s)

Sisinyana H. Khunou, Department of Health Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Adequate mentoring and support of community service nurses (CSNs) in transitioning from the learning environment to the public health setting is pivotal. Despite this notion, the mentoring of CSNs is inconsistently implemented. It was therefore imperative that the researchers developed the guidelines that can be used by managers to mentor the CSNs.

Aim: This article shares nine guidelines to ensure adequate mentoring of CSNs in public health settings.

Setting: The study was conducted in public health settings designated for placement of CSNs, in South Africa.

Methods: This study followed a convergent parallel mixed-methods design whereby qualitative data were obtained from purposefully selected CSNs and nurse managers. Quantitative data were obtained from 224 CSNs and 174 nurse managers, with the use of mentoring questionnaires. Semi-structured interviews were used on focus groups of nurse managers (n = 27) and CSNs (n = 28). Quantitative data were analysed with Statistical Package for Social Science software version 23, ATLAS.ti 7 software was used to analyse qualitative data.

Results: The merged results evidenced that CSNs were not adequately mentored. The public health setting was not conducive to mentoring CSNs. Mentoring activities were not well structured. Monitoring and evaluation of mentoring of CSNs were not properly done. Evidence from merged results and literature were applied to develop mentoring guidelines for operationalising a mentoring programme for CSNs.

Conclusion: The guidelines were: (1) creation of a positive mentoring environment, (2) enhancement of collaboration between stakeholders, (3) attributes of CSNs and nurse managers in the mentoring relationship, (4) enhance orientation for nurse managers and CSNs, (5) facilitation of mentor–mentee matching process, (6) conducting mentoring meetings, (7) capacity development for CSNs and nurse managers, (8) monitoring and evaluation of mentoring process, and (9) reflections and feedback.

Contribution: This was the first CSNs’ guidelines to be developed in the public health setting. These guidelines could facilitate adequate mentoring of CSNs.


community service nurses; guidelines; mentoring; nurse managers; public health setting.


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