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Mentoring in Palliative Nursing

Mazanec, Polly PhD, ACNP-BC, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN; Aslakson, Rebecca A. MD, PhD, FAAHPM, FCCM; Bodurtha, Joann MD, MPH; Smith, Thomas J. MD, FACP, FASCO, FAAHPM

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: December 2016 - Volume 18 - Issue 6 - p 488–495
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000297
Ethics Series

Mentoring is a responsibility of the nurse to advance the nursing profession and can be viewed from an ethical perspective. Little has been reported about mentoring in hospice and palliative nursing, and data to support this concept are lacking. Yet, nowhere is mentoring more essential than in this specialty, which is filled with the often difficult issues of caring for those with serious illnesses and their families. Educational and emotional support, which are important components in the mentoring relationship, are critical for nurses who need a hospice or palliative care nursing colleague to guide and coach them in caring for this patient population and to advance the profession of palliative nursing. Although all nurses can benefit from finding a mentor and being a mentor, it is extremely important for those caring for patients and families facing serious illnesses.

Polly Mazanec, PhD, ACNP-BC, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, is research assistant professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

Rebecca A. Aslakson, MD, PhD, FAAHPM, FCCM, is associate professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, Palliative Care Program in the Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Joann Bodurtha, MD, MPH, is professor of pediatrics & oncology, Joint Appointment at the JHU School of Nursing, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Thomas J. Smith, MD, FACP, FASCO, FAAHPM, is professor of oncology, Harry J. Duffey Family professor of palliative medicine, and director of palliative medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Address correspondence to Polly Mazanec, PhD, ACNP-BC, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, 1563 Watt Pond Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29466 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2016 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.