Exploring the dark side of informal mentoring: Experiences of nurses and midwives working in hospital settings in Uganda

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Mentoring literature explores the dark side of mentoring as factors such as gender and race and how they affect the overall mentoring experience. The sociocultural context of the nursing and midwifery professions presents unique characteristics warranting a qualitative exploration of negative mentoring experiences. We aimed to characterise the dark side of mentoring based on informal mentoring relationships occurring among nurses and midwives working in hospitals. Utilising semistructured interviews in a qualitative descriptive design and reflexive thematic analysis, we examined the perceptions of 35 nurses and midwives from three public hospitals located in the Western, Northern and North-western regions of Uganda. Findings emerged in four overarching themes mentoring process deficits, mentoring relational problems, organisational challenges in mentoring and implications of negative mentoring experiences. Our study findings underscore that, while mentoring is frequently beneficial, it can also be interspersed with negative experiences arising from relational dynamics, particular mentoring processes and the overarching hospital environment. Notably, nurses and midwives actively transformed these challenges into opportunities for growth and self-improvement, while introspectively examining their roles in contributing to these negative experiences. Such a proactive approach highlights their resilience and steadfast commitment to professional development, even in the face of adversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12641
Number of pages13
JournalNursing Inquiry
Early online date12 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2024


  • hospitals
  • informal mentoring
  • mentor midwives
  • nurses


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