The benefits of nursing mentorships
Mentorship aims to foster a mutually beneficial professional relationship in which someone with experience shares knowledge and expertise with a person with less experience while at the same time improving their mentoring skills.
Nurses work within a nurturing, responsible, and highly dynamic environment, which can affect their well-being and how they manage their roles on a day-to-day basis. Having a nurse mentor is a very helpful way to enable nurses to navigate the issues surrounding their working lives effectively and ensure they feel supported as they progress in their careers.
There are many benefits to having a nurse mentor. They can help support their mentee through challenges and difficulties in their role or workplace. They can also guide and shape their mentee’s career paths as they grow and evolve in confidence and experience.
For those who feel they are working in unsupportive environments, are dissatisfied with their job, are feeling the strains of a stressful workload, or believe they are on their way to burnout, a good mentor can help them deal with these issues and find effective solutions to help move them forward.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has a mentoring toolkit, and many hospitals and other health facilities have integrated nursing mentorship programs, some aimed especially at new nursing graduates. These programs aim to provide psychological and emotional support, clinical care support, career development, academic advice, and access to nurse leadership opportunities.
The benefits to the employer of ensuring their health workers have access to mentors include increased job satisfaction and promotion of professional growth and development, which will help decrease turnover and increase cost-effectiveness.
A good nurse mentor should be:
- A good listener
They should also:
- Meet regularly with their mentee.
- Provide answers to clinical and career-related questions.
- Offer career insights.
- Help with goal setting.
- Help mentees develop their professional networks.
- Give emotional and mental support.
- Provide coaching and advice.
- Guide their mentees toward their career goals.
Mentors can also learn things from their mentees as they have different perspectives and experiences. A new nurse, for example, may have been learning in another way than their mentor or may have been trained with up-to-date clinical practices more recently than their mentor, who may be learning these new practices while also working.
Mentoring provides mentors opportunities to cultivate and develop skills such as coaching, questioning, and giving feedback. Listening non-judgmentally and carefully is an important way to build effective communication with others, build trust, and learn how to lead effectively. A mentor can use the experience to increase their empathy and understanding of the perspectives of others from different ranges of experience and backgrounds. By listening to their mentee, they can gain a rounded appreciation of the obstacles they may be facing, which they may not have dealt with. Conversely, they can share issues they have dealt with in their workplace journey that may be useful for their mentee.
Mentors can also gain satisfaction from the knowledge that they are guiding and nurturing others and assisting a new generation of colleagues in positively moving forward in their careers.
Being a mentee
Once a mentor is found, the mentee can ensure a beneficial experience by taking certain steps. First, the mentee should identify their needs and be clear about what they hope to gain from the mentorship. Additionally, making plans to meet in person can help establish a strong connection and build trust. The mentee should also ask for feedback and be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Lastly, being prepared for each meeting, such as by bringing a list of questions or topics to discuss, can help make the most of the mentorship experience. The mentee can create a positive and productive relationship with their mentor by following these steps.
The benefits of being mentored include:
- In the following, the following, and in the next, the following created confidence.
- Encouragement and empowerment in personal development.
- Access to a senior role model.
- Guidance on identification of gaps in generic skills and knowledge.
- We are developing and maintaining a broad perspective of career opportunities and options.
Mentor development and qualifications
Nurse leaders, many skills and knowledge required to be an effective mentors are learned during their professional lifetime, gaining experience and qualifications to develop their careers.
There are opportunities for those who wish to further enhance their nurse leadership skills
by taking a more formal route through further education. Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing Online offers an online DNP Executive Nurse Leadership Program, which prepares students with organizational knowledge and competencies, such as influential leadership and transformative care models.
Once someone has decided to become a nurse mentor, they can take steps to improve their skills through study. Firstly, it’s important to find out if there are formal mentorship programs at their place of work, and if there aren’t, how one can be established. When putting themselves forward, candidates should list the attributes that will help them be effective mentors. Potential mentors could then establish themselves as informal, approachable, and non-judgemental resources for others.
How to find a nurse mentor
There are different ways to find a nurse mentor, whether through a program organized within the workplace or externally via nursing associations or non-profit organizations. Places to look at include the American Nurses Association, American Association for Nurse Practitioners, and American Organization for Nursing Leadership.
Professional development can also begin before graduation within an education facility itself. While studying, students who are enrolled in nursing schools can develop professional mentorship relationships with professors or nurse educators. They can also ask if they can shadow them while working in a hospital or lab or ask an academic advisor if their internships or mentor programs are available to label within the faculty.
It is also important for mentees to understand their needs and what developments are happening around them, clinically and in a broader sense. This can be done by studying specific work-related papers, joining networking groups, undertaking on-the-job training, and reading related magazines and websites.