Purpose: This interactive session will involve small and large-group discussions of the role and lived experience of the clinical educator as a mentor. Original qualitative research will be presented that uncovered themes which enhanced effectiveness, as well as challenges and implications. Ongoing discussion will include personal and organizational strategies to be an effective mentor as one moves from the novice to the experienced clinical educator. Research comparing novice and expert clinicians has helped both academicians and clinicians to understand practice patterns, thereby providing strategies for education and clinical training. Several will be discussed and practiced, including a formal process of reflective practice. Two original, contemporary, research papers that qualitatively explored the experiences of novice and experienced clinical instructors will be the foundation for this session. The purpose of these two studies was to explore the perceptions of novice and experienced physical therapist clinical instructors including roles and teaching behaviors. Methods and/or Description of Project: Clinical educators continually search for methods to optimize their roles as an educator and mentor. One variable factor that has not been formally considered is the CI – student relationship/interaction. Purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews were conducted of American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Credentialed Clinical Instructors. The sample included a diversity of genders, highest degree earned, years of practice, and practice settings. Transcripts of the interview and focus group data were analyzed using interpretative analysis for themes and subthemes. Results/Outcomes: Based on the findings of these two papers and those of other healthcare professions, session participants will examine the roles of the clinical educator via the lived experiences of both the novice and experienced clinical instructor. While all clinical instructors viewed transitioning the students from the classroom to the clinic as their primary role, their viewpoints, strategies, and concerns were different. This session will use this data as the foundation for a broader discussion on the development of effective mentoring strategies including incremental learning, creating a caring environment, and reflection in practice. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The lived experiences of novice and experienced clinical educators inform academic and clinical educators of the perceived roles, facilitators, barriers and limitations to effective and efficient clinical mentoring of physical therapist students. Discussion of strategies to develop best practices needs to occur throughout the national professional community. Fostering reflection and developing a caring culture in the clinical environment, by both the clinician and student, are critical and must be developed and practiced.