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Nurse First News Blog

The Importance of Finding a Nurse Mentor

Posted June 15, 2020

Everyone needs guidance. There is a good chance you stumbled upon this blog using Google as your “guide”.  As much as Google can solve many problems, a search engine still doesn’t beat the benefits of human guidance. As a nurse, your job is extremely demanding both physically and mentally. Having a nurse mentor in your corner is extremely beneficial professionally and personally.

A nurse mentor is someone with nursing experience, has acquired a vast amount of knowledge regarding the nursing industry from education to vocation. Someone that has “been there done that” and out of sheer altruism, wants you to simply avoid the pitfalls that they encountered. Essentially, anyone with more experience than you within the nursing field who is willing and able to help you succeed can be considered a mentor. Finding a nurse mentor and even several mentors are highly recommended in any field but especially in nursing. Let’s walk through the benefits of a nurse mentor, characteristics of a great mentor, and ways to ensure you found the perfect mentor match! 

Benefits of Finding a Nurse Mentor 

two friends sitting on the couch having a discussion over coffee

Finding a nurse mentor is important for several reasons. Nurse mentors can help guide your career. They are sort of like an “inside man” to the nursing industry that can provide you support, guidance, and advice as you navigate through your career. This insight will undoubtedly help you avoid any particular missteps and give you a more directional path to success. Yourmentor holds the key to the door of other great nurses out there.  You can never have enough people in your corner. 

A nurse mentor has been in the game for a while and has plenty of contacts to connect you with. These connections could help you during your job hunt or even better in the interview process. Sometimes you also just need a nursing mentor as a cheerleader. Your parents and friends will not know what the technical terms are or what success and small victories will look like in the nursing industry unless they themselves are in the industry too. With a nurse mentor, they have been there and their approval will resonate more with you than the motherly, “great job honey”. Bear in mind though that when you are not doing so hot, your mentor will let you know that as well but that’s what they are there for, to be 100% honest with their feedback.

Emotional support is vastly underrated when it comes to the nursing industry. Like I mentioned above, sometimes all you need is a sounding board and someone to tell you that you can do it. When going through a tough time in any profession, sometimes you just need to know that someone else went through the same thing and that you too can hurdle these obstacles successfully.

Characteristics of a Good Mentor

two multi ethnic friends having drinking coffee and smiling during a conversation

When choosing a nurse mentor, be mindful of certain characteristics that you will want and need your mentor to possess. These characteristics of a mentor will help you be successful in the long run. Here are 7 characteristics to keep your eye on when seeking a nurse mentor…

Desire to help

Your mentor will want to see you succeed almost as badly as you!  You’ll notice that your mentor will take on a variety of roles to help you.  Whether it be a cheerleader, counselor, or friend. You should always feel valued and supported. 

Positive

A sunny disposition will help you see the upside in difficult circumstances. However, it is important to find a mentor that is transparent and willing to tackle difficult conversations too. 

Dedicated to your success

It’s important that your nurse mentor shows up!  Not only physically during your meetings, but emotionally too. A great mentor will reach out and do temperature checks to see how you are doing throughout the week. 

Nurturing

Your mentor shouldn’t just give you answers but also help you find the appropriate resources for guidance as well. 

Supportive

If nursing was an easy career everyone would do it. As you deal with the demands of your job it is invaluable to have the support of a nurse mentor. Sometimes all you need is someone who truly understands and can relate to your situation

Patient

As you grow and develop in your career, your mentor will need to exude patience. It is difficult for a person to open up if they are feeling like a burden. More often than not, a mentor will innately have this quality. Let’s not forget that they have been in your shoes!

Available

Consistency is key! Make sure you have a set schedule of when you can connect. You and your mentor need to decide the frequency of these meetings, but never leave a meeting without having another one lined up. 

A Match Made in Heaven?

A solid relationship with the right mentor can make or break the entire process. A veteran nurse may have phenomenal experience and knowledge, but if you don’t jive personally, no one wins. Here are a few key points to ensure that the mentorship is a good fit for both people involved. 

Be proactive. Take initiative, but don’t be pushy. The more professionally proactive you are with grooming the relationship and coming to meetings with topics ready to discuss, the more involved your mentor will be too. 

Be connected. Do you and your mentor click? Are the meetings with your potential mentor awkward or are they smooth and comfortable? Is communication easy or are there always misinterpretations? The vibe factor is important when measuring the relationship that could last for several years or even a lifetime.

Be consistent. Frequent meetings will nurture your relationship and keep the momentum going. 

Be open. Find a mentor that will respectfully challenge you and be open toa challenge as well. This relationship goes both ways, you both will soon realize that you are a benefit to each other. 

Having a solid nurse mentor in your life can make great days brighter and the difficult days more bearable. You will never regret having more people in your corner, the nursing field is not for the faint of heart. You don’t have to walk this path alone, nor should you! Go find yourself a cheerleader, supporter, coach, and quite possibly a life-long friend.  


References

Finding a Nurse Mentor. (2017, July 18). Retrieved July 17, 2018, from
http://blog.supplementalhealthcare.com/heartbeat/finding-a-nurse-mentor
Sherman, R. O., & Piquion, I. (2016, January 25). Finding a Mentor. Retrieved July 17, 2018, from
http://nursing.advanceweb.com/finding-a-mentor/

Finding a Nurse Mentor. (2017, July 18). Retrieved July 17, 2018, from
http://blog.supplementalhealthcare.com/heartbeat/finding-a-nurse-mentor
Sherman, R. O., & Piquion, I. (2016, January 25). Finding a Mentor. Retrieved July 17, 2018, from
http://nursing.advanceweb.com/finding-a-mentor/

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