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Psychological Safety in the Workplace: The Impact of Staff Mentoring Programs

St. Clair, Briea (2023) Psychological Safety in the Workplace: The Impact of Staff Mentoring Programs. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Psychological safety in the workplace has been an emerging topic for many years. High levels of psychological safety among staff members can have positive effects on their learning experiences, work engagement, interpersonal relationships, and perceptions of an organization overall. On the other hand, low levels of psychological safety can lead to poor learning experiences, disengagement, lack of interaction, and isolation. Feeling psychologically safe is particularly important in the mental health field because of complex experiences associated with being a mental health worker. Research has shown that an important element of psychological safety is feeling heard, supported, and validated. An effective way to provide this is through staff mentoring programs, in which new staff are paired with a single mentor to help guide them through their onboarding or provisional period and also serve as a safe, interpersonal connection. Mentors can be used as a resource and added layer of support for new staff at an organization, particularly within startup healthcare organizations that have nuanced dynamics to consider. At my startup mental healthcare organization, I completed an improvement science project to evaluate the current mentorship program for new behavioral health coaches and establish plans for the program’s future, with the goal to increase future mentees’ feelings of psychological safety. This project led to key findings with respect to the way to improve the current mentorship program. The areas of voice, support, and interpersonal risk-taking are well-established within the mentorship program currently, while team learning and work engagement are not. In addition, the current mentor training as well as the mentor-mentee matching process needs to be enhanced, with additional layers of accountability. Lastly, this improvement science project revealed that mentors and mentees believe the mentorship program timeline should be extended and the role of ongoing mentorship encouraged.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
St. Clair, Brieabds76@pitt.edubds76
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAkiva,
Committee MemberDeAngelo,
Committee MemberKanu, Nonyé
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 May 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 9 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 65
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychological safety, mentor, mentoring program, mentorship, mental health, behavioral health, startup, improvement science, voice, support, interpersonal risk-taking, team learning, work engagement
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:54
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:54


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