NURS 325 Mentoring
POWERFUL MENTOR: POWERFUL NURSE
The success of a new nurse can be improved and accelerated by the utilization of a mentor. An experienced nurse can ease the social angst and acceptance associated with being the new team member. A mentor performs the tasks of preceptor by teaching all of the technical aspects of nursing in a specific service area, but also instructs the mentee as to the structure of the work environment and how to navigate it. The mentor looks for assignments that will accentuate and stretch the experience level of the mentee. A good mentor will also attempt to learn from the mentee. This builds a bond between them and ultimately strengthens the nursing team as a whole (Benner).
A good nurse is a mentee for life, always learning and improving their craft. A good mentor is always seeking those interested in learning and then sharing experience that cannot be gleaned from a book. I have been blessed with several superb mentors. They were not always assigned to me. I often had to root them out and pester them until they realized that I was worth their time and effort. "A mentor has commonly been regarded as someone who encourages and offers direction and advice to a protégé or novice". (Kilgallon) By establishing a network of experienced individuals in the work place, the role of mentor could be expanded to a group to increase the skill set and experience available (Grossman). To put this concept into biblical perspective, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17 (Zondervan). A sort of institutional or professional memory is developed with mentoring. The new nurses bring fresh ideas and concepts form school and meld that with the experience and advanced technical knowledge of the experienced mentor, resulting in a continuous cycle of improvement. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6" (Zondervan). Mentors are people who help those less experienced in their field learn about the field and advance their careers. Mentors not only help mentees learn, they also learn from the mentor-mentee relationship. To be effective, mentors should possess patience, enthusiasm, knowledge, a sense of humor, and respect. They also should advocate for mentees and get to know them, thus allowing mentees to succeed and the mentor-learner relationship to grow". (Fawcett)
Around 2004, a personal mentoring experience that has impacted the way I operate occurred when I was asked to mentor a nurse in the Surgical Trauma ICU. I was frequently the charge nurse and had precepted quite a few RNs by this time. This particular fellow had already been precepted by several nurses on that unit. I wondered why he was given to me and I asked my manager. She told me that the new employee was not doing well and that I was the final test. I knew that meant that nobody wanted to give him the bad news, so I had been selected to be the one that "failed" him. I tried very hard to teach this fellow. He was a very nice guy but he just was not ready to operate at that level. Finally, I sat him down one night to talk to him. I told him that basically he was not cutting it and that he had been given to me so that I would have to tell him. He started crying. I told him to tell me what was wrong and maybe I could help. He was a little distrusting at first, but eventually, he told me that this was his third mentorship in two hospitals since becoming an RN. He had not made it through any of the mentorships without getting let go. He was not sleeping, he had a new baby at home and he told me that if this did not work out that his wife was going to leave him. They were in debt and needed this income and he needed to regain his wife's respect as the man of the family. I thought about this for a while. I told him to go get something to eat and take a walk while I thought about how to handle things. When he returned, I told him to not wait until he...
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