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Benefits, barriers and enablers of mentoring female health academics: an integrative review


Cross, M and Lee, S and Bridgman, H and Thapa, DK and Cleary, M and Kornhaber, R, Benefits, barriers and enablers of mentoring female health academics: an integrative review, PloS one, 14, (4) Article e0215319. ISSN 1932-6203 (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Cross et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215319


This integrative literature review synthesizes the primary research evidence on mentoring female health academics published from 2000 to 2018, to identify the benefits, enablers and barriers to mentoring women. The need for this review is underpinned by the magnitude of change in higher education, the high number of women in health disciplines, limited progress in advancing women's academic careers, escalating role expectations, faculty shortages and staff turnover. Data were sourced from Scopus, PubMed, EMBASE and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Twenty-seven studies were included. Although effective mentoring facilitates personal and career development, academic craftsmanship, psychosocial support and job satisfaction, it is complicated by organizational factors and personal and relational dynamics. Enablers of mentoring are mentor availability and expertise, supportive relationships, mutuality and responsiveness. Lack of, or inadequate mentoring compromise women's job satisfaction, career development and academic productivity. Providing female health academics access to experienced, well-connected mentors with common interests who are committed to advancing their career, is an investment in optimizing potential, promoting supportive work environments and increasing productivity and retention. Realizing the institutional potential that mentoring female health academics offers, is contingent on academic leaders valuing mentorship as faculty business and understanding the role that the contemporary academic environment plays in achieving mentoring outcomes. Further empirical and longitudinal research is needed to evaluate effective approaches for mentoring women in the contemporary academic environment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mentorship, female, academics, benefits, barriers, integrative review
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:Cross, M (Dr Merylin Cross)
UTAS Author:Lee, S (Dr Simone Lee)
UTAS Author:Bridgman, H (Dr Heather Bridgman)
UTAS Author:Thapa, DK (Mr Deependra Thapa)
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
UTAS Author:Kornhaber, R (Dr Rachel Kornhaber)
ID Code:132187
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:37
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2019-04-29
Last Modified:2020-05-26
Downloads:58 View Download Statistics

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