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In the United Kingdom, the concept of mentorship has been central to nurse education since the 1980s. Mentorship has become the definitive term used to denote the supervisory relationship of the student nurse with a qualified nurse who monitors and evaluates their skill development in the clinical area. The background against which the concept was established is examined through a consideration of the concepts of archaeology of knowledge and genealogy of knowledge as conceptualised by Michel Foucault. In particular, the Foucauldian concepts of power, discourses and the gaze are used to direct and shape the analysis. The paper explores the interplay of managerial dominance and professionalism and the ways in which mentorship can be used as a means of control and surveillance.