Tribute to Helen Lugina as a Model for Mentorship

In this blog, I reflect on the importance of nursing mentorship. I credit the many mentors along the way such as nurse educators, clinicians, scientists and leaders, who lifted me up from my own untapped potential.  In particular, I remember the Guardian of the Discipline recognized last week on this blog, the late Dr Helen Lugina, who was one of my early mentors in matriculating into the journey of becoming a nurse educator and scientist in higher education. As I reflect on her legacy, I appreciate the influence she and others have made to advance the discipline of nursology.

I examine some of the ongoing theoretical and empirical underpinnings of mentorship in nursing such as the role empowerment guided by Swanson’s theory of caring (Kusumaningsih, Hariyati, & Handiyani, (2019); mentorship and attachment theory (Miles, 2011); the mentoring-up theory (Hale & Phillips, 2019); and mentoring tools for nurse educators in higher education (McQueen, Cockroft, & Mullins, 2017; Potter & Tolson, 2014), to mention a few. One notable theoretical approach that speaks to my reflection is that of goal attainment pioneered by Imogene King .

I believe that effective mentors have qualities or characteristics that facilitate the cultivation of mutual targeted personal and professional goals. Dr Lugina had the qualities of an outstanding mentor. She demonstrated compassion and caring attributes both at personal and professional levels. She always shared her vision, goals, insights, intellect, and love for research, nursing and midwifery science. Above all, she was never shy from her own vulnerabilities. She always looked for collaborative opportunities to advance mutual personal and professional goals. Through her early mentorship, I excelled in meeting some of my own personal and professional career goals. 

Therefore, what can we all learn from Dr Lugina and other legends about mentorship in nursing, in this case higher education? I leave you with this quote by Anthony Robbins: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” So, as novice or seasoned mentors in academia, how effective are you in turning your mentee’s invisibles into the visible in the areas of teaching, research, service and leadership?  What personal or professional factors hinder or facilitate this process? How can nursologists advocate for and facilitate effective nursing-mentorship programs in higher education?


Hale, R. L., & Phillips, C. A. (2019). Mentoring up: A grounded theory of nurse‐to‐nurse mentoring. Journal of clinical nursing28(1-2), 159-172.

Kusumaningsih, D., Hariyati, R. T. S., & Handiyani, H. (2019). Improving mentor’s competencies in nursing mentorship program through role empowerment by Swanson’s theory of caring. Enfermeria clinica29, 166-171.

McQueen, L., Cockroft, M., & Mullins, N. (2017). Imogene King’s theory of goal attainment and the millennial nurse: An important mentoring tool for nurse educators. Teaching and Learning in Nursing12(3), 223-225.

Miles, K. (2011). Using attachment theory in mentoring. Nursing times107(38), 23-25.

Potter, D. R., & Danita Tolson, R. N. (2014). A mentoring guide for nursing faculty in higher education. International Journal of Caring Sciences7(3), 727.

2 thoughts on “Tribute to Helen Lugina as a Model for Mentorship

  1. Informal and formal mentors are necessary for identifying and realizing professional short- and long-term goals. It took me some time to realize it, and that several mentors may be better than one. So much has been written about mentoring, but a colleague recently reccommended Dr. Angela Barron McBride’s book, The Growth and Development of Nurse Leaders (2nd ed.). I’m halfway through and mentorship (both being a mentee and mentor) are covered well, including how mentorship has changed over the decades. Thanks for the important post!

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