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Are mentors failing to fail underperforming student nurses? An integrative literature review

Wray, Jane; Kennedy, Michelle; North, Hannah


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Dr Jane Wray
Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Senior Clinical Nurse Advisor NHSEI

Hannah North


Aim: this review aimed to identify and review primary research to address the question: ‘Is there evidence that mentors are failing to fail underperforming student nurses?’ Design: this was an integrative literature review. Methods: online databases (Medline, Scopus, PsycINFO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL)) were searched using specified inclusion and exclusion criteria to focus the review. Critical appraisal was undertaken and key findings, outcomes and emergent concepts were identified from each study. These were then collated and synthesised into themes. Results: five articles met the criteria and review aim. Three main themes were identified. These were the mentors’ relationship with the university, documentation when failing a student, and psychological and emotional impacts. Conclusion: the phenomenon of failing to fail continues to concern the nursing profession but there is limited primary research evidence to inform contemporary discussions in the UK regarding the management of this in practice.


Wray, J., Kennedy, M., & North, H. (2019). Are mentors failing to fail underperforming student nurses? An integrative literature review. British Journal of Nursing, 28(4), 250-255.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 21, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 27, 2019
Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 28, 2019
Journal British Journal of Nursing
Print ISSN 0966-0461
Publisher Mark Allen Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 4
Pages 250-255
Keywords Mentors; Mentoring; Students; Integrative review; Competence
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