Title of ArticleReaching out to those we teach about: a qualitative appreciative inquiry of older persons’ experience as mentors in a bachelor of nursing programme during the Covid-19 pandemic
Type of ArticleOriginal Article
Author/sFrances Affleck, Lillian Hung and Alison Phinney
ReferenceVolume 12, Issue 2, Article 4
Date of PublicationNovember 2022
KeywordsCommunity dwelling, nurse education, older persons, person-centred, quality improvement, senior mentor


Background: This article describes the development and refinement of a component of a first-year nursing course called ‘Theoretical perspectives in nursing care: complexities in seniors care’. Initially developed in 2020 in response to the pandemic restrictions and guided by the philosophy of person- centredness and person-centred practice, a senior mentorship programme called ‘Engaging with your senior mentor in the community’ has become an important element of the broader theoretical course.

Aim: To report on the experiences of older persons living in the community who volunteered to be mentors to first-year bachelor of nursing students, and explain how their experiences informed person-centred quality improvements for future courses.

Methods: Appreciative inquiry principles guided the study. Qualitative descriptive design methods – online surveys and focus groups – were employed to evaluate the senior mentorship initiative.  Thematic analysis was performed to identify themes that described what the experience of participating in the initiative was like from the perspective of the senior mentors themselves.

Findings: Our analysis identified five themes: (a) sharing; (b) contributing; (c) listening; (d) self-reflecting; and (e) communicating expectations.

Conclusion: Sharing wisdom informed by lived experience can be a rewarding part of ageing. Senior mentors believed they had contributed in a meaningful way to the student nurses’ learning.

Implications for practice:

  • This article reaffirms that older persons are keen to participate in education initiatives
  • Insights from the senior mentors will inform educators in health and social sciences who want to incorporate the voices of older persons in their classroom and practice teaching
  • Older persons should be considered potential partners who can help educators develop a culture of person-centredness to help students prepare to appreciate the older persons in their care

This article by Frances Affleck, Lillian Hung and Alison Phinney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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