Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health & Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this study was to develop and statistically analyse a conceptual model of contemporary developmental relationships in nursing. The conceptual model was formulated a priori and was based on both empirical and conceptual literature. No attempt was made to draw a distinction between concepts of preceptor and mentor and focused on all helping, supporting, developmental relationships that nurses form with their colleagues. The study population was selected by means of stratification by area of and random selection, and was drawn from the nursing population in hospitals and higher education institutions in New South Wales (n=445). A nonexperimental retrospective research design was utilised for this study. of the conceptual model using structural equation modelling (SEM) was performed on data supplied by registered nurses (n=349) on a questionnaire. Follow-up telephone interviews were also undertaken with a convenience sample drawn from the respondents willing to participate further in the research study. An instrument was developed by the researcher to collect data on the professional values of nurses (16 nurturing and 16 achievement Items). Instrument evaluation using reliability and validity analysis measures is reported. The study aimed to: 1) develop a conceptual framework of developmental nursing relationships from a literature review of personality, preceptorship mentorship studies from both the conceptual and empirical literature; 2) identify reliable indicators to measure the above abstract concepts within context of developmental relationships in nursing; 3) statistically analyse conceptual model of developmental relationships in the occupation of nursing; and 4) expand the conceptual model through the development of the theoretical links between the abstract constructs based on the research findings from nursing study. The constructs examined in this study were: Individual Personality (IP) measured by Achievement Personality, Professional Values (PV) as measured by loading the Achievement and Nurturance factors of the Wright Professional Value Inventory, Work Context (WC) a composite measure of of nursing practice which was weighted by the number of years in the present position, and Developmental Relationships (DREL) as measured by loading the total number of relationships formed as a giver and as a receiver and type of relationship variable (collegial vs supervisory). Analysis of results confirmed the positive significance of paths from Individual Personality to Work Context, from Professional Values to Work Context, and from Work Context to Developmental Relationships. Professional Values was found to have a higher indirect effect on Developmental Relationships than Individual Personality. Although the hypotheses were supported, the predictive power of the model was relatively low (.153) v the need for a search for more variables that are critical to the model to improve its predictive power. The data supplied from follow-up interviews indicated that even though registered nurses described the relationship in different terms, almost all saw the relationship as a developmental one.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.