… and, in fact, it’s not just nurses but everybody! I have several mentors and coaches who guide me in my law practice. Even though I’ve been a lawyer for 25 years, mentors always have new insights to help.
Many nurses get caught up in the norms of their unit with the “we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” syndrome. If you are a new nurse, you may not know that this is not proper. You may get a bothersome gut feeling but you’re too timid or afraid to say something.
You’re just going with the flow and then one day … SURPRISE! Your unit manager calls you into her office and tells you that you’re being written up. Now you need to report this on your nursing license renewal application. This is an all too frequent scenario.
I suggest that you and every nurse get a mentor, especially when you’re just starting out. With nursing schools cutting their funds, time spent on clinicals and learning on mannequins, it takes a couple of years of active practice for you to get your nursing “sea legs.”
So, you need a mentor! Someone who can be objective and tell you the truth (with love, of course). It should be someone who does not work with you but someone you trust and respect. Someone to whom you will listen when they offer advice.
It’s always good to talk with a mentor about the patients you’ve taken care of, the assessments that you’ve made and the decisions you’ve made based on your assessments. A mentor can guide and help you to determine if you’ve made the right judgment call in that situation and coach to be a better nurse.
Personally, I have always believed that having a mentor allows you to borrow their experiences to expedite your learning curve. No matter how experienced you are, a mentor can help you improve your practice and take your career to the next level whether that is climbing the clinical ladder, becoming certified or whatever is next for you.
As nurses, we should always be striving to learn, grow and improve ourselves so that we can give the best in patient care. Having a mentor is one way to accomplish this.
Before you go, let us know, in the box below, if you have a mentor or share your thoughts about possibly having one.
This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. More posts on this topic can be found at The Days When I’m Not A Nurse. Find out how to participate.
Donna Carol Maheady says
I couldn’t agree more. Mentors are important for all nurses and especially for nurses or students with disabilities. Finding a mentor with a similar disability or challenge can be the key to finding, support, information, and resources.
ExceptionalNurse.com is a nonprofit organization for nurses and nursing students with disabilities. We offer a long list of mentors with different disabilities.
And, thanks for your support of nurses with disabilities Lorie!
Greg Mercer, MSN says
Lorie, you make a sound argument. Thanks! Do You do any mentoring?
Elizabeth Scala says
I couldn’t agree more! In fact, as I read your blog post today, I am at my business coach’s annual retreat. I learn not only from her, but from everyone in the room. Learning, listening and receiving support are great things for everyone. Great post, Lorie. Thank you!
Dr. Rachel Silva, DNP says
Mentoring is not only a path to receive insight, constructive criticism, and encouragement for professional growth for the mentee, it is also an opportunity for the mentor to give back to the nursing profession. Although everyone is assigned a “preceptor” during orientation to a new job, it is rare to find the gift of a true mentor. A true mentor is by your side long after orientation and has a genuine interest in seeing your long-term professional success.
Kelly Payne, RN BSN says
You nailed it when new nurses are often just told “Thats just the way we do it” and don’t offer much more of an explanation – its a slippery slope because the new nurse wants to please those around her and not rock the boat, so she continues to do things as everyone else does.
I had a great opportunity as a new nurse to be in a “Successful Transitions” class that included new nurses all over the hospital and we would meet throughout our first year and were able to discuss and share with one another what was happening/likes/dislikes/questionable moments with each other. We had mentors that facilitated the class along.