Establishing a Structured Mentorship Program for Novice Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in the Veterans Health Care System

Date of Degree


Document Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Holly DiLeo


Background. Mentorship is an age-old strategy still widely sought after to increase integration into the workforce. Employers of new APRNs must be aware that newly graduated APRNs are inexperienced. To maximize the employers’ investment, training on proper integration should be a high priority. This Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project addressed this quality improvement issue through the implementation of a structured mentorship program to improve the overall transitioning of newly hired APRNs in the Veterans Health Care System (VHCS). Problem. The VHCS lacks a formalized, structured mentorship program for newly graduated APRNs entering the VA System. Intervention. Seven APRN mentors and 10 newly hired APRN mentees in their first 8 to 10 weeks of employment were identified for the APRN mentorship program. The participants met monthly face to face and weekly by email. Monthly goals, objectives, strengths, and weaknesses were identified. Project objectives were: 1) All NPs within the VHCS who met mentor criteria would be identified, 2) Fifty percent of identified NPs would be recruited as mentors, 3) All newly hired NPs would be assigned a mentor, 4) All mentor-mentee pairs would establish at least one short-term goal with objectives, 5) Eighty percent of mentees would meet short-term goal, and 6) Fifty percent of mentor-mentee pairs would establish a second short-term goal. The Mentor Competency Assessment (MCA) and the Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education (CoEPCE) were used to measure progress. Results. Mentor Competency Assessment scores increased from a median value of 5.88 (moderately skilled) in May to 6.65 (extremely skilled) in July. Composite scores from the Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education (CoEPCE) assessment improved during the study period, increasing from a mean value of 275.5 in May to 327.1 in July. Mentees’ self-reported satisfaction scores increased from a mean of 4.44 in May to 4.94 in July. Implications for Practice. This quality improvement initiative provides a promising basis for improving the transition of newly hired APRNs in the VHCS, thereby improving overall retention of these providers.

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