Mentorship : the perspectives of HIV/AIDS counsellors and mentors.
The devastating impact and spread of HIV/AIDS is well recognized throughout the world. HIV/AIDS counselling is one element of Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VCT), a process designed to encourage testing, provide support, care and prevention knowledge. Quality assurance,ongoing training and counsellor support are vital components for VCT to succeed. The implementation of mentorship for HIV/AIDS counsellors is recommended as an appropriate way of addressing current counselling concerns and providing professional and psychsocial support structures to produce benefits for the quality of VCT in the long term. This study aimed at contributing to the limited field of research on the topic of mentorship by conducting an in-depth examination of mentorship in general and in an HIV/AIDS context specifically. A qualitative, interpretative method, using both in-depth interviews and focus groups, was used to address three specific research questions relating to mentorship views of HIV/AIDS counsellors and mentors in KwaZulu-Natal. A grounded theory analytic technique revealed that mentorship provides multiple functions such as guidance and support to counsellors, ongoing training and monitoring counsellor performance, which inevitably contributes to more motivated counsellors and improved quality of work. This study hopes to give greater insight into mentorship, specifically from the perspective of VCT counsellors and mentors, to those key role players and policy makers that are involved in the development of programmes for HIV/AIDS counsellors.