Legacy Mentoring Actions

Overview and Resources
October 2023

Find out more about legacy mentoring, what it is and how it can benefit your organisation, team, patients and service users.

Why does it matter?

  • Mentoring is a rewarding career opportunity for colleagues who might otherwise retire or resign, and the organisation retains valuable experience and ‘organisational knowledge’.
  • Evidence shows that many staff leave during the first 5 years of a clinical career, but the support of a mentor has been shown to have a significant impact on staff choosing to stay.
  • Mentors support staff to develop as practitioners, encourage career progression and set an example for life-long rewarding careers.
“If we don’t move with the times, we are going to lose our new workforce who have spent a long time in getting to the place where they are just about to step into a career and we can’t afford to lose experience staff”

Justine, George Eliot Hospital

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How will this benefit my…

  • Organisational support for programmes like legacy mentoring demonstrates a commitment to supporting career development at all stages and sends a message to those both in the early and later stages of their careers that they are valued, making it more likely they will choose to stay working in the NHS.
  • The support provided by legacy mentors complements and enhances the support from a line manager or leader, who may have limited time available for supervision and pastoral care.
  • Offering newly qualified or early career staff additional support and guidance enhances the skills of the team and improves the quality of the services offered to patients and service users.
  • Sharing the skills and expertise of experienced team members helps encourage the career progression of newer staff by setting them on the right path, supporting them through the challenging early years of their careers and increasing the likelihood of them staying in the profession.
  • Legacy mentoring programmes offer flexible options to colleagues who may be wanting to ‘wind-down’, work fewer hours or take on less mentally or physically demanding roles in the later stages of their careers.  Mentoring offers an opportunity for individuals to extend their careers and contribute in a new capacity.
  • Experienced colleagues can be supported to develop a ‘portfolio career’, splitting their time between clinical work and mentoring.
  • Mentors offer valuable health and wellbeing support to mentees, as well as education, advice, and guidance.
  • The support of a mentor helps colleagues in the early stages of their careers and enables personal and professional development.


  • By retaining valuable skills and knowledge in the organisation and up-skilling the next generation of staff, legacy mentoring programmes support the delivery of excellent care to patients and service users.
  • Programmes like legacy mentoring drive improvements in staff experience and staff engagement, which help to improve patient and service user experience.

Top Tips for Implementing

You don’t need to worry about completing all of the tips. Pick a few that feel achievable to you as a starting point. You can then revisit them later.

  • Access the NHS England Retention Hub’s page on Legacy Mentoring which outlines some Top Tips to help you get started.
  • The Supporting Staff in Late Career section in the NHS Employers Improving Staff Retention – A guide for line managers and employers is also a useful starting point.
  • Learn more about how other organisations have implemented legacy mentoring by watching and reading the video and written case studies.
  • For legacy mentoring to be successful, you will need an infrastructure within your organisation. Engage with key stakeholders such as professional leads, operational management and training and education specialists within your organisation. You may find you already have other Legacy Mentors within other teams or professions who you can learn from.
  • Review your organisation or team’s data; staff demographic information, leaver and exit interview information, staff turnover, staff engagement scores. Understand what the data tells you about who is leaving your organisation or team and why they are leaving. This will help you consider how a legacy mentoring programme might encourage staff to stay working in your organisation or team.
  • You might need to speak to your organisation about how to access data; this might be a Data Analyst or your HR department.
  • Accessing Model Health System will provide you with useful data. You can register for an account if you don’t already have one.
  • The Understanding your Data section in the NHS Employers Improving Staff Retention – A guide for line managers and employers is also a useful starting point.
  • Agree the role you want legacy mentors to have; what are the aims of the programme, what is that ‘so what’ difference going to be, how are you going to measure the success of the programme?  Who will they mentor and how? Consider different supervision models.  How many hours will they work?  Will this be a stand alone role or as part of their existing role? Colleagues in later career are more likely to be attracted by flexibility and possibly less clinical shifts within office hours.
  • Review the example Legacy Mentor Job Description, Legacy Mentor Person Specification and Legacy mentor Job Advert. Consider if they meet your needs or if you can amend them?
  • If required, prepare a business case for the programme; you can use the example Legacy Mentoring Business Case to help you.
  • Consider how you can promote the role, what kind of person do you want to attract and how you can tailor your recruitment processes to help you appoint the right people? 
  • Consider what support you will put in place for your legacy mentors. Will they have protected time each week?  What will they spend this time doing?
  • Ensure you up-skill your legacy mentors so they are able to provide excellent mentorship.  You might consider some mentoring training for them or additional training and development that will enhance the skills of the legacy mentors, such as mental health first aid training, coaching and mentorship training.  You could explore the courses on offer through the NHS Leadership Academy or look at the Open University.  Make sure you provide them with regular supervision, Continuing Professional Development, clear objectives and supportive management.
  • Communicate the benefits of legacy mentoring and how it can benefit organisations, teams, individuals, and those who use services and ensure that you regularly feature the great work that your legacy mentors are doing through internal communications.
  • Try the team activities in the Ways to Stay guidebook.
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How will I measure the impact?

To embed legacy mentoring into an organisation, it’s important to be able to demonstrate the impact of the programme. 

You can do this using qualitative and quantitative data, for example:

  • Establish a data baseline for an area (e.g., current leaver rates, absence rates, staff engagement scores, patient experience data) and then compare the data at 3, 6 and 12 months after legacy mentor support has been introduced.
  • Useful data is available in Model Health System. You can register for an account if you don’t already have one as well as from the National Quarterly Pulse Survey, NHS People Pulse Survey and ESR Exit Questionnaire. Your organisation may not yet use the NHS People Pulse Survey or ESR Exit Questionnaire so it is worth considering who you could speak to about using them in the future.
  • Track whether staff who have a legacy mentor stay and compare this with a ‘control’ group of staff who have similar characteristics but do not have a legacy mentor.
  • Create a survey for mentees to monitor the impact that mentoring is having on their experience at work.  You could also survey line managers who have team members being supported by legacy mentors. Microsoft Forms is an easy application to use for a survey.
  • Invite mentees, mentors, and teams to share their journeys and use them alongside the data to ensure that real experiences and stories are listened to and considered as part of the assessment of the programme.
  • Create engaging case studies / reports which bring together the data and staff experiences to give a full picture of the programme.
  • Work with your communications colleagues to feature legacy mentoring success stories to promote and embed the role.
“Late career nurses not only shared their specialist knowledge, but they also were re-energised and re-invigorated by their experience of having some development.”

Sue Haines, Assistant Director of Nursing Nottingham University Hospitals

Case Studies

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

The team at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust have 14 legacy mentors from nursing, midwifery and AHP professions working across the organisation. This means their experienced, late career staff can share their specialist knowledge with new staff so they could feel supported in their early careers. This also meant that late career staff felt valued and were “re-energised” having additional development in their later career.

Watch the video here >

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Implementing the legacy mentoring action at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has ensured their staff have an alternative route when they want to retire, to returning to work in a different capacity. These initiatives keep staff in the NHS, and offer experienced staff the opportunity to continue using their clinical skills.

Read more here >

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

The team at George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust implemented Legacy Mentoring in their organisation as a way to retain late career staff, as well as early career. The team have felt the benefits to both experienced late career staff and early careers, understanding that when people feel valued, they are more likely to stay.  

Watch the video here >
Grey Legacy


Evaluating the Legacy Nurse role introduced across Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership

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Grey Legacy


Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System – Late Career Hub

Read more >
Grey Legacy
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Walsall Healthcare Trust
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Grey Legacy
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
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“Being a Legacy mentor is an opportunity to be developed at a time we didn’t expect it in this part of our career. We can invest our experience back in, supporting younger healthcare professionals”

Stephanie, Legacy Mentor