The benefits of mentorship for both mentor and mentee
Many career fields benefit from mentorship—a professional relationship consisting of an experienced individual (the mentor) who shares expertise, knowledge, and wisdom with a less experienced person (the mentee). Nursing mentorship is important because it provides advice, guidance, and support to new nurses, helping them to enhance communication skills, increase their self-confidence, and assist in their transition to professional practice.
According to a 2023 report by the National Library of Medicine, 22%–32% of nurses in the United States are considering leaving the profession shortly. These nurses will retire, and they will take with them the knowledge and experience they have accumulated over the years. One way to ensure that they impart their experience to new nurses is through mentorship programs.
Mentorship has had a positive effect on the nursing field. A 2023 survey of members from the Be1Support1 mentorship program in California showed that nearly half of mentees felt that mentorship had influenced their decision to stay in nursing.
- 84.2% of the respondents said that mentorship had made them feel more confident at work, and a similar percentage said that it had improved their ability to solve problems.
- 75% reported that having a mentor improved their professional communication, and all respondents said that having a mentor helped their transition into nursing practice.
Mentors have also proved useful to those looking for jobs. Not only can they share available opportunities, but they also help their mentees prepare for job interviews.
After graduating with a nursing degree from a school such as Texas Woman’s University, the next step in a nursing career is looking for an open position. A mentor can show a nurse how to prepare for a nurse practitioner interview. They can help polish resumes, go over the most important parts of training, review practice questions, and even help nurses choose attire that will make them look and feel confident. Using their experience, a mentor can also discuss appropriate salary ranges and how to talk about this with prospective employers.
Mentorship in nursing often results in improved job satisfaction for nurses and the discovery of more opportunities for professional growth and development. Unfortunately, there is no central mentorship program for nurses, and finding information about nursing mentorship can be difficult.
For example, what is mentorship, and is it necessary? What are the qualities of a good mentor? Does the relationship benefit the mentor and mentee, or is it one-sided?
This article will answer these questions and provide tips on how to find a supportive mentor.
What is a professional mentor?
A professional mentor is an individual who volunteers their advice and guidance in the workplace.
They make sure that their mentee understands and can navigate the workplace to be exceptional in their job. A mentor is like a wise older man or woman who provides advice and guidance to their mentees.
Mentors also play an important role in helping their mentees set goals. Because new nurses are often young and inexperienced, they sometimes will become so absorbed in their jobs that they forget about career advancement. They hope that someone will notice their hard work and promote them.
Unfortunately, it often does not work out that way. Nurses who want to pursue career advancement must set goals and make sure they are talking to the right people. They also need additional qualifications and experience in varying aspects of healthcare.
A mentor’s job is to guide their mentee through this process. The mentor helps them understand how to move up the career ladder into more lucrative and satisfying nursing jobs.
Why should nurses have mentors?
Nurses are busy people, and mentoring relationships take time. Why should young nurses bother to get mentors? What can they hope to gain? There are several important benefits of the mentor-mentee relationships in nursing:
A mentor offers guidance
Mentors are typically older than their mentees and know more about the nursing profession than those who are just beginning their careers.
A good mentor is invaluable when it comes to guiding a mentee. They can talk to them about different types of issues to ensure that their mentees are taking the right career path.
They help solve problems.
Many new nurses encounter problems that seem too complex or impossible in the workplace. They make mistakes that can be detrimental to their careers for years.
A mentor helps their mentee navigate whatever issues they encounter at work. The mentor may have experienced similar problems, and they know what to do and who best to talk to.
While the mentor imparts this advice, the mentee should be prepared to listen and take their advice seriously.
Mentors offer emotional support.
Nursing is stressful work. Two years after the pandemic, nurses are still reporting high levels of stress.
In a day’s work, a nurse has many different experiences. They attend to patients who are seriously injured, deal with fatalities, and manage belligerent patients who may cause trouble.
A mentor is invaluable in helping young nurses to pace themselves. They provide tips on how best to survive in the workplace, relax and unwind, and avoid work-related trauma.
They help nurses become more confident.
Confidence often comes with experience. When new at a job, they may make mistakes—not due to a lack of knowledge, but because they lack confidence.
A mentor explains errors and provides positive feedback when performing a task correctly. When a mistake is made, a mentor describes how to fix it and moves on rather than criticize.
Over time, nurses become more confident and undertake duties without supervision.
They provide career advice.
Many nurses remain in the same position and location for years—sometimes their entire careers—because they do not know the right professional development moves to advance.
Receiving a promotion is not as simple as doing a good job and hoping a supervisor will notice.
Nurses need to be visible to the right people, and a mentor will explain who these people are and how to get their attention.
They will explain the sorts of conversations with superiors to be considered for promotion.
A mentor will also advise on the different experiences that will create a well-rounded nurse. Suppose a person remains in one department or ward for an extended period. In that case, they might miss opportunities to become a versatile nurse who can work in any hospital area.
A mentor offers academic advice.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing might help land a first job, but to become a senior nurse, additional academic qualifications are usually necessary.
Unfortunately, once one becomes a nurse, there is not much time left in a day for studying. If plans are made for additional schooling, the nurse must carefully balance the demands of their job with studies.
A mentor can help their mentees choose suitable courses that help them advance their careers while also strategizing ways to balance work and study.
Mentors can also offer advice on the best way to study to maximize chances of success.
They can help seek new opportunities.
Mentors are walking networks. They know people who know people, and they can help nurses secure new jobs or move to higher positions with their current employers.
What are the qualities of a good nurse mentor?
What sort of mentor is best? Just because a mentor gets along with one mentee does not necessarily mean they are suitable to work with any nurse.
When looking for a mentor, the first thing to evaluate is whether both people get along. It should be a relationship based on mutual respect and remain professional at all times.
Additionally, the nurse mentor should have the following qualities:
- The mentor should be a positive, driven individual. The mentor should not be lazy, antisocial, or negative. They ought to be able to encourage the nurse when things are difficult.
- A good mentor is tolerant. They understand that most new nurses are young and still learning, so they take their time to show them the ropes. When mistakes are made, rather than become exasperated, the mentor takes time to set the nurse on the correct path.
- Mentors are empathetic. Empathy is a quality required of all nurses, but just because one is a compassionate nurse does not mean one will make a good mentor. The right mentors can put themselves in the nurse’s shoes, understand their feelings, and guide them with understanding and compassion.
- Good mentors have insight. They can assess a situation quickly and give advice when it is needed. They can also anticipate where certain roads will lead and warn their mentees to avoid them if necessary.
- A good mentor communicates well. They take the time to listen to their mentees, and when they give advice, they make sure they are understood. They do this without being pushy or making their mentee feel inept.
- Mentors are committed to making sure that their mentee succeeds. They go the extra mile to provide them with advice that helps shape their careers and are present during difficult times.
How mentors benefit from the mentor-mentee relationship
Why should anyone be a mentor? Being a mentor does require commitment, but it has important benefits:
It is a great way to boost interpersonal skills
When a person becomes a mentor, they must interact, talk, and spend time with their mentee. This is a good way to become a better communicator and develop empathy and compassion.
Teaching others strengthens one’s knowledge base.
It is said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. By becoming a mentor, one becomes a better nurse. Every time a mentor teaches something to a mentee, the mentor understands it more themselves.
It is a great way to strengthen leadership skills and experience
Many mentors become excellent leaders in their respective fields due to their mentorships. Their mentoring experiences help develop important skills for guiding others.
Mentorship impresses employers
Employers will be impressed when they discover a nurse has mentored others because it helps mentors and mentees become better nurses.
Mentoring builds confidence
Not all highly qualified and experienced nurses possess confidence. Mentoring young nurses is an excellent way to build trust, giving the mentor a chance to interact with others.
How can you find a good nurse mentor?
One of the easiest ways to find a nurse mentor is to join a mentorship program. These programs recruit both mentors and mentees and pair them together. These programs are successful because they match people based on their temperaments and needs.
University instructors also have information about where to find a good mentor. Many are mentors themselves, and they also know senior nurses who are keen to guide others as they establish their careers.
Nurses who are already working can often find a nurse within the workplace. Some older nurses have plenty of experience and are good communicators. It is worth asking if they would like to be a mentor.
Mentoring is a vital part of career development. Those who are mentored tend to progress further in their professions and receive more satisfaction from their work. They are less likely to quit because of stress, and they know how to navigate the workplace.
At the beginning of a nursing career, it is a good idea to look for a mentor who will be happy to support, guide, and give advice.